UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has urged the international community to work harder for the protection of Rohingyas as the monsoon season is approaching.
“With the monsoon season approaching, we must work even harder,” he said in a video message at the launch of a joint response plan for the Rohingya refugee crisis held in Geneva on Friday.
He said suffering of the Rohingya people remains deep, disturbing and relentless. “As a result, Bangladesh has witnessed the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis.”
The UN chief said the Rohingya are under siege as a group — simply for who they are.
“Many refugees are victims of horrific trauma — psychological and physical — cast out of their homes and country in a clear example of ethnic cleansing,” he said.
He Thanked to the swift and focused response from Bangladesh, with the support of the international community. Also he called of the international body for ensuring the Rohingya community receives assistance, solutions — including their human right to nationality — and justice.
The international community, in Geneva on Friday pledged to contribute further to assist Rohingyas and the vulnerable locals in Cox’s Bazar as the joint response plan indicates requirement of $951 million in the coming months.
United Nations and the Bangladesh government prepared a plan to provide an assistance of $950 million to the Rohingyas and the vulnerable locals in Cox’s Bazar for 10 months until December.
The amount is more than double the money — $434 million — which was initially planned for the Rohingyas as emergency humanitarian assistance for six months till February. The donor countries, however, contributed around $400 million.
Representatives from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Sweden, Thailand, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Japan, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Korea, Denmark, Norway, Turkey, WFP, Unicef, OHCHR, OIC, World Bank, WHO, UNFPA, FAO and IOM, among others, spoke at the launch of the joint response plan for the Rohingya humanitarian crisis.
Unicef, as part of the Rohingya joint response plan, will provide $113 million to meet the needs of 720,000 children — Rohingya as well as Bangladeshi children in the communities hosting them — through the end of 2018.
The “extraordinary efforts” of the Bangladesh government, with support from the humanitarian community, brought crucial protection and relief to children and families, many of whom had escaped death, said the Unicef.
The crisis continues — the Rohingyas are still fleeing Myanmar — with around 500 new arrivals every week over the past month.
The scale of immediate, basic, life-saving every day needs — 17 million litres of clean water — remains immense.
Some 50,000 latrines are needed — of which over 28,000 are constructed, and over 200,000 children are still not getting any form of education.
“There are new and acute risks,” Unicef spokesperson Marixie Mercado told reporters.
The response plan includes the preparedness work that is going into protecting Rohingya refugees from impending monsoon rains and potential cyclones.
It also includes longer-terms needs — most importantly education and protection, notably psychosocial support, for children.
“Together with partners, we have been able to reach 82,000 children between 4 and 14 years old with rudimentary learning — English, Myanmar and some maths — plus some basic life skills,” said the Unicef spokesperson.
The plan aims to reach 270,000 children by the end of the year — a huge undertaking, but one that can spell the difference between hope and despair for every single one of those children.
“We also plan to provide psychosocial support to 350,000 children — about 140,000 of whom we are now reaching. The need for this help, this healing, cannot be underestimated,” Marixie Mercado said.