US announces more than $170M in humanitarian aid for Rohingya

Funds will be for Rohingya, host communities in Bangladesh.

US announces more than $170M in humanitarian aid for Rohingya

The US on Thursday announced additional humanitarian assistance of more than $170 million for Rohingya inside and outside Myanmar as well as for host communities in Bangladesh.

With the new funding, total US assistance in response to the Rohingya refugee crisis has reached nearly $1.9 billion since August 2017, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a press statement.

Bangladesh currently hosts over 1.2 million Rohingya refugees who fled Myanmar's Rakhine state following a brutal military crackdown in August 2017.

With nearly $138 million for programs specifically in Bangladesh, it provides life-sustaining support to the over 940,000 Rohingya refugees, many of whom are survivors of a campaign of genocide and crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing, and 540,000 generous host community members in Bangladesh.

“We urge other donors to contribute robustly to the humanitarian response and increase support to those driven from and affected by violence in Burma (Myanmar),” Blinken said in the statement.

“Recognizing that conditions in Burma do not currently allow for the safe, voluntary, dignified and sustainable return and reintegration of displaced Rohingya, we are working with the Government of Bangladesh, Rohingya, and people within Burma toward finding solutions to the crisis,” he added.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said Thursday at a high-level event on the Rohingya crisis held at the Lotte Palace New York Hotel in New York City on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly that Bangladesh has to spend around $1.22 billion annually for Rohingya refugees.

The sheltering activities for the refugees have caused a loss of biodiversity and loss of forest area of around 6,500 acres (2,630 hectares) of land, she added.

In her speech, she called on the international community to support the Rohingya politically and financially, including by supporting Gambia at the International Court of Justice in order to strengthen the fight against human rights violations in Myanmar and ensure the safe repatriation of Rohingya to the Southeast Asian country.