Canadian funds for Rohingya welcome, needs increasingly desperate: Save the Children

/EIN News/ --

Toronto, Sept. 15, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) --

Aid agency Save the Children has welcomed Canada’s announcement today of $2.55 million to provide emergency assistance to the newly arrived Rohingya in southern Bangladesh.

 

Save the Children Asia Advocacy Director Michel Anglade said desperation is growing by the day as more and more Rohingya cross over to Bangladesh, with children arriving on foot, hungry, and many without their families. Anglade welcomed Canada’s contribution as a strong first step, and called on other donors to support aid agencies urgently working to scale up their assistance.

 

“Thousands of Rohingya families including children are sleeping on the roadside in the Cox’s Bazar district on the Bangladeshi Myanmar border.  There isn’t enough food or clean drinking water and children are at extreme risk of exploitation and trafficking,” Mr Anglade said.

 

Save the Children has been calling on the international community to fully fund a US$77 million emergency appeal to help the newly arrived Rohingya in southern Bangladesh. The children’s aid agency is pleased that Canada’s $2.55m contribution includes dedicated funding for children and families, including food assistance, water purification tablets to provide clean drinking water, and protection activities to support psychological and emotional needs of children exposed to violence and forced to leave behind everything in fleeing for safety.

 

“Canada’s initial contribution comes at a critical period when funds are urgently needed. As an aid agency on the ground in Bangladesh and Myanmar, we are pleased at the timeliness of Canada’s first funding announcement, and urge other donors to follow Canada’s lead, particularly as many humanitarian agencies scale up operations in response to growing need.”

 

Over 375,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh in the past three weeks following a rapid and alarming escalation of violence in northern Rakhine State, Myanmar, since August 25, including disturbing reports of hundreds of people, including children, being killed.

 

Save the Children is particularly concerned for children’s immediate health and protection.

 

“Children are arriving sick due to lack of food and clean water. In the chaos of fleeing their homes, hundreds of children have been separated from their families. This is a big concern. These children need extra support and to be reunited with family members.”

 

“With many Rohingya arriving desperately hungry, local communities have been sharing food and other necessities with the new arrivals. The response from local communities is commendable, as are the significant efforts of the Government of Bangladesh and local authorities in Cox’s Bazar. However the scale of this crisis means much more help is needed. We hope to see additional support from both the Canadian government and the public as the needs continue to increase.”

 

Save the Children’s operations in Cox’ Bazar pre-date the current crisis, with a longer term response already underway to address the needs of Rohingya children and families in the area prior to the outbreak of violence on August 25. In response to increasing need, the aid agency has scaled up operations, distributed hundreds of shelter kits, set up ‘child friendly spaces’ to support children’s emotional wellbeing and provide a safe space to play, and is running child protection services to support children fleeing violence, separated from families, and in need of psychosocial assistance.

 

Save the Children is also calling for an end to the violence in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine State.

 

“We urge all parties to the conflict to do everything possible to end the violence and ensure the protection of all civilians, particularly children. We call for unhindered humanitarian access to northern Rakhine State, where the situation will certainly worsen if relief organisations aren’t able to resume their operations,” Mr Anglade said.

Spokespeople are availabile in the region for interview for other media inquires contact:

Annie Bodmer-Roy, phone: 613-854-9074

 

Notes to editor:

 

  • Save the Children Canada is mobilizing funds to support the global humanitarian response to the crisis. Individuals able to contribute to our humanitarian efforts can donate to the Emergency Response Fund
  • In Rakhine State, Myanmar, Save the Children provides assistance to both Rohingya living in camps for internally placed people in Sittwe and in Pauktaw, and for Rakhine communities in Pauktaw. Save the Children does not have access to the areas of northern Rakhine State which are affected by conflict.

 

Annie Bodmer-Roy
                    Save the Children
                    613 854 9074
                    abodmerroy@savethechildren.ca
                    

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