The world has pledged NOK 2.7 billion to the Rohingya refugees
A number of countries and organizations have pledged to give NOK 2.7 billion to help the many Rohingya who have left Burma for Bangladesh.
The promises came after a Geneva summit, which was organized by EU on Monday, Kuwait and several UN organizations.
The Rohingya live in a nightmare, both in terms of human rights and humanitarian conditions, stated Mark Lowcock, leader of the UN Emergency Coordination Office (OCHA) stated as the meeting opened.
Later in the day he fiound that it had been a “encouraging morning”, but stresses that promises are not sufficient.
– Promises are one thing. Now it’s really important that the promises are transformed into money as fast as possible, he says
The UN had asked for NOK 3.5 billion to help the total of 900,000 rohingya refugees until the end of February. During the conference there were made pledges of NOK 1.87 billion. Including pledges preceding the conference, it has been pledged a total of NOK 2.7 billion.
Lowcock does not rule out that the UN will ask for even more money in the future, depending on how the situation develops.
Norway contributes with NOK 25 million, while the European Commission has pledged less than NOK 300 million.
– The money is to be used by a number of UN organizations and for aid programs under the auspices of the Red Cross and individual countries, states spokeswoman for OCHA, Vanessa Huguenin.
Scorched earth tactics
The UN estimates that 603,000 people have fled from Burma to Bangladesh since the end of August. Earlier, hundreds of thousands of rohingya have fled to their origins in Bangladesh.
The refugees inform about murders, assaults and the incineration of villages in the state of Rakhine in western Burma. A lot of the Muslim populace is stateless, and in Burma they are not even recognized as a minority.
– The Rohingya people deserve nothing less than any other people in the world. They deserve a future. We have a moral obligation to give these people hope, says EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides.
Lack of clean water
Among other things, the lack of clean water is a huge problem, and according to the UN, 74 per cent of the refugees suffer from diarrhea.
– facing more than 800,000 refugees in the border area, we know that only 18 per cent presently have sufficient access to safe drinking water. In such a situation, the risk of explosive spread of cholera and other waterborne diseases is imminent, the Norwegian Church Aid states in a press release on Monday.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ine Eriksen Søreide (Conservatives), reiterates the call to the authorities in Burma to allow international humanitarian organizations to assist the population in the most vulnerable areas of the province of Rakhine.
More than half of the refugees are children, many of them without parents.
– Many of the refugees in Bangladesh have witnessed atrocities in Burma that a child should never have been subject to and they have suffered huge losses, says UNICEF boss Anthony Lake in connection with a UNICEF report published last week.
© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today