Kuwait committed to providing relief aid for Rohingya refugees

(MENAFN- Arab Times) Al-Jarallah heads team for Rohingya confab in Geneva

KRCS' volunteers during the distribution of relief aid to Rohingya refugees

COX'S BAZAR, Bangladesh, Oct 22, (KUNA): Said to be the world's fastest growing refugee crisis, the Rohingya community who have been fl eeing to Bangladesh have recorded half a million people since violence broke out in neighbouring Myanmar on Aug 25.

Kuwait has not stood still in the face of this humanitarian crisis and has been offering assistance to the hundreds of thousands currently residing in dozens of makeshift camps across Bangladesh's southeastern region.

There are some 13 camps in Cox's Bazar, a city located about 70 kms away from the Myanmar border, where Kuwait Red Crescent (KRCS) is carrying out an ongoing humanitarian aid campaign to assist the weary travelers.

In cooperation with Turkey's Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) and the Bangladeshi military, KRCS since Friday handed out 600 food parcels, 600 cleaning products and 1,000 kitchen utensils and home appliances to the refugees with plans to distribute further aid.

Most of the refugees have lost their homes in Myanmar, which were burned down due to the ongoing conflict there, and have had to walk for days without food or shelter to make the journey across the border. The camps have put a huge load on authorities in Bangladesh who are struggling to cope with the huge influx of arrivals.

A Bangladeshi army officer tasked with aid distribution and security in Balukhali, one of the refugee camps in Cox's Bazar, told KUNA that 17,000 families currently reside in the camp, but these numbers are increasing.

The army make sure that there are no irregularities in the distribution process to the refugees, who have each been handed documents in order to ensure that rations are allocated evenly, said Nafees bin Ahmed.

However, he said that despite the hard work put in by Bangladeshi authorities this has not prevented several challenges the refugees are presented with, including the lack of toilets, power, lighting and disinfectants. 'Their situation is a difficult one,' he said, 'they need much more.' Aisha Mohammad, a mother of 12, said she escaped killing and pillaging to make it to the camp, where she has been living for two weeks now. She had to walk for three days to make the journey across the border while the lack of food and water made her children suffer from malnutrition. At the camp, she said that 'women dare not leave their tents at night' in fear of their safety.

This forces Aisha to cook indoors making it difficult for her and her children to breathe due to the rising coal fumes. Along with the problem of malnutrition, her children have also been affected with other sicknesses due to the scarcity of clean water. According to UN estimates, around 3,000 Rohingya refugees escape across the border every day from Myanmar. The total number of these refugees has reached a total half a million, including 300,000 children.

Meanwhile, Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Al-Jarallah, accompanied by officials, departed to Geneva on Sunday to head the State of Kuwait delegation at the Pledging Conference on the Rohingya Refugee Crisis due to kick off on Monday. Kuwait will co-chair the convention with the European Union, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UN refugee agency (UNHCR). The minister was accompanied by the assistant foreign minister for the deputy minister's bureau affairs, Ambassador Ayham Al- Omar, and the assistant foreign minister for international organizations, the designated minister, Nasser Al-Hain.

The conference will be an important moment for the international community to respond and address this major refugee crisis, European Commission said in a statement in Brussels, late Friday. 'As co-host of this high-level event, the EU is actively encouraging all donors to contribute to a successful conference. It is an important moment to demonstrate solidarity, common approaches and a strong humanitarian face of the international community to meet the needs of the many people that have fl ed their homes,' EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides said. The State of Kuwait has dispatched convoys of essential supplies for thousands of Rohingya, who have settled in squalid conditions on Bangladesh's side of the border with Myanmar.


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