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Tuesday, 21 August 2018

UK charities raise £28 million to support Rohingya refugees stranded in Bangladesh

Written by Jemma Crew

Charities have raised £28 million for Rohingya refugees stranded in Bangladesh within the first year of the most recent exodus.

In 12 months, an already-substantial refugee settlement in southern Bangladesh has become home to 700,000 more Rohingya fleeing neighbouring Burma amid reports of extreme violence.

The Kutupalong-Balukhali expansion site, informally known as the megacamp, is now considered the world's biggest refugee camp, the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) said.

An appeal launched by the consort of 13 UK aid agencies has raised £28 million, including £5 million matched by the UK Government, and will end in August.

Simon Beresford of the DEC said the money raised had once again "demonstrated the incredible generosity and compassion" of British people.

"Thanks to the British public, DEC charities have been able to reach hundreds of thousands of people in what is now the world's biggest refugee camp with food, shelter, clean water and much more," he said.

"But this crisis is ongoing and the monsoon rains have worsened the situation which is why we are hoping to push the total even further."

During the first six months, the money provided food for 351,500 people.

Over the current phase, which will stretch for a further year, funds will go toward supporting nine health facilities and two mobile clinics helping 200,000 people.

More than 900,000 Rohingya are estimated to be living in the sprawling camp system and nearby communities around Cox's Bazar in the south of the country.

Seasonal monsoons have not proved as catastrophic as aid agencies feared, but have been damaging nonetheless, with tens of thousands of Rohingya relocated to safer ground.

More than 100 learning centres have been damaged by landslides, and 70 by flooding, according to the Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG), which is coordinating the humanitarian response.

Repair work continues on over 300 latrines and bathing facilities damaged by rains, while an estimated 15,300 refugees have been impacted by 296 landslides and/ or erosions.

With the cyclone season imminent, and the rains continuing to fall, DEC say the worst may be yet to come.

A recent update from the ISCG said: "A year later, refugees now face additional threats.

"They live in congested sites that are ill-equipped to handle the monsoon rains and cyclone seasons - with alarmingly limited options for evacuation.

"Many refugees have expressed anxiety about their future, explaining that they would not agree to return until questions of citizenship, legal rights, access to services, justice and restitution are addressed."

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) PA Wire.