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Rohingya Refugee Crisis - Disasters Emergency Committee Appeal

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Friday 06 October 2017

Today the Disasters Emergency Committee (the DEC) launched an appeal for the significant humanitarian needs in Myanmar and Bangladesh as over 500,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar following violence and persecution.

The launch of this appeal is in response to recent calls from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs for further emergency aid to provide much needed humanitarian aid and to avert a human catastrophe.

The Overseas Aid & Development Commission has agreed to donate £15,000 to this appeal. This brings the Commission's awards to this humanitarian crisis to £30,000 as the Commission agreed to make an award of £15,000 to Christian Aid on 28th September 2017 to the appeal that charity had launched in response to this crisis.

In reaching its decision, the Commission noted that the advice from the DEC indicated the following key updates:

There are currently more than 500,000 people who have fled violence in Myanmar's Rakhine state and crossed the border into Bangladesh. On 28th September 2017, in his briefing to the UN Security Council, Mr Guterres said: "The situation has spiralled into the world's fastest developing refugee emergency, a humanitarian and human rights nightmare." An estimated 400,000 people remain in conflict zones of Rakhine State, where needs are unknown and access incredibly difficult.

The Government of Bangladesh has now authorised operations licenses for aid agencies to provide assistance to incoming people and host communities.

All DEC members are responding to this crisis or have partners that are already providing relief assistance. However, they estimate a funding shortfall in this crisis response of £60 million. With extra funding, all DEC charities and their long-standing in-country partners have the capacity to provide immediate relief assistance to people in urgent need of shelter, medical attention, water and food, and are in a position to alleviate suffering at a critical time in the evolution of this crisis in Bangladesh. On the Myanmar side of the border, five DEC members are supporting the relief effort, but humanitarian access continues to be limited.

Funding raised from this appeal will be prioritised to respond to acute needs on the Bangladesh side of the border. Based on the amounts raised and ongoing assessment of the access situation in Myanmar, some funds may also be allocated to the relief efforts there.

Ten DEC members - ActionAid, British Red Cross, CARE International UK, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide, Islamic Relief, Oxfam, Plan International UK, Save the Children and World Vision UK - have launched appeals for the crisis. Age International, CAFOD and Tearfund are due to launch appeals in the very near future.

The UK Government has expressed interest to support this DEC Appeal through its AidMatch scheme.

The Commission is mindful that as each day passed, the unmet humanitarian needs increase in volume and complexity. This includes the number of Rohingya and other people arriving into Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, as well as displaced people already living in Bangladesh and of course the host population. The Commission is also conscious that this area of South East Asia has also experienced exceptionally heavy rains in recent weeks and this has resulted in serious flooding in many parts of Bangladesh1.

Deputy Yerby, President of the Overseas Aid & Development Commission said,

"The fact that the DEC has launched an appeal underlines how serious the crisis in Myanmar and Bangladesh has become. I am glad that Guernsey has been able to double its support for the crisis through this donation. Donating through the DEC is a very effective way of responding to humanitarian emergencies, because its member charities are experts in this kind of crisis and will be able to scale up their work in the region quickly in order to provide essential shelter, food and water, and basic healthcare to meet the needs of the Rohingya refugees caught up in this devastating crisis."

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