Crisis Appeal for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh
Posted 23 Nov 2017 01:00PM
Caritas Australia is one of eight major humanitarian organisations in Australia that have issued a joint plea for urgent funds to help nearly a million people who have fled violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State.
Over 600,000 people who identify as Rohingya, mostly women and children, have fled to Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh since August 25. This is in addition to the over 200,000 Rohingya refugees who were already in Bangladesh. Shelter, blankets, food, clean drinking water, sanitation and health care are urgently needed.
Under the Crisis Appeal, which is supported by the ABC, the Australian Government will match donations to Australian Red Cross and Australia for UNHCR up to a total of $5 million. It is also working closely with the other agencies participating in the appeal, including Caritas, to respond to the crisis.
Caritas Bangladesh has already been responding to the immediate needs of the refugees by providing food items such as lentils, salt, sugar and cooking oil, as well as basic cooking utensils, to over 29,000 families.
Francis Atul Sarker, Executive Director of Caritas Bangladesh, said Caritas has reached about one third of the population of new arrivals – but that much more help is needed.
“We are facing the threat of an epidemic because people are living in such dire circumstances. Without clean water and sanitation an outbreak of cholera could easily occur,” Mr Sarker said.
Caritas Bangladesh has deployed experts in health, hygiene, sanitation, education and child protection into the camps, so that aid is focused on the most urgent cases.