US announces nearly $138m for Rohingyas in Bangladesh, host community

A general view of the Rohingya refugee camp after a massive fire broke out two days ago and destroyed thousands of shelters in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, on 24 March 2021Reuters

The US has announced over $170 million in additional humanitarian assistance for Rohingyas in and outside of Myanmar as well as for host communities in Bangladesh, reports news agency UNB.

“With this new funding, our total assistance in response to the Rohingya refugee crisis has reached nearly $1.9 billion since August 2017, when over 740,000 Rohingya were forced to flee to safety in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday.

The assistance comes about a month after the UN refugee agency said the funding to help Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh was well short of needs.

More than a million Rohingya are living in squalid camps in southern Bangladesh comprising the world’s largest refugee settlement.

The new round of US humanitarian assistance includes more than $93 million through the State Department and more than $77 million through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Blinken said.

About $138 million was allocated specifically for programmes in Bangladesh to provide life-sustaining support to the Rohingyas, many of whom are survivors of a campaign of genocide and crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing, and 540,000 host community members, according to the State Department.

“Recognising that conditions in Myanmar do not currently allow for the safe, voluntary, dignified, and sustainable return and reintegration of displaced Rohingyas, we are working with the government of Bangladesh, Rohingyas, and people within Myanmar towards finding solutions to the crisis,” Blinken said.

The latest support will enable the provision of food, safe drinking water, health care, protection, education, shelter, and psychosocial support, the US government said.

The US urged other donors to contribute robustly to the humanitarian response and increase support to those driven by and affected by violence in Myanmar.