Extra Australian aid to help Oxfam support Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh

Campaigns and Advocacy, Emergencies, Humanitarian Advocacy, Media Releases, News article written on the 23 Oct 2017

Oxfam welcomes the additional $10 million of humanitarian assistance the Australian Government has just announced for the Rohingya crisis in Bangladesh and Myanmar.

Oxfam Australia’s Project Manager for Bangladesh Min Wah Voon said: “It’s encouraging to see continued recognition of the seriousness of the Rohingya refugee crisis in Bangladesh from the Australian Government. This ongoing financial support is essential for funding the ongoing humanitarian response.

“This additional funding includes $1 million for Oxfam’s response, and comes on top of $2 million already provided by the government to help Oxfam to provide water tanks, water pumping systems and toilets – all essential to keep people alive and stop the spread of disease.

“Oxfam has partnered with CARE Australia to make sure that our water and sanitation response is as accessible as possible for women and girls and takes care of their specific needs – for example by providing women only toilets and bathing cubicles and menstrual hygiene kits.”

More than 300,000 Rohingya women and girls who have fled rape and violence are not getting the protection and help they need because of lack of funds, Oxfam said ahead of an international donor pledging conference for the Rohingya refugee crisis in Geneva tonight.

There are now more than 120,000 pregnant women and mothers with new babies who are among those struggling to survive in cramped camps and settlements in Bangladesh that are ill-equipped to deal with their needs.

Of the 120,000 women, there are many pregnant teenagers and victims of rape. According to the Cox Bazaar Civil Surgeon’s office, 50 babies are born daily into dire conditions in camps starved for water, food, shelter, and protection.

“More than half a million people have arrived in Bangladesh in six weeks, and Oxfam staff are working as hard as they can to support them and prevent possible cholera outbreaks,” Ms Voon said.

“Oxfam’s response in Bangladesh has supported 180,000 people so far with clean drinking water, food rations, emergency toilets, water pumps, hygiene kits and emergency shelters in the over-crowded, ill-equipped camps and ad-hoc settlements of Cox’s Bazar.”

As the violence continues in Northern Rakhine, refugees continue to arrive in increasing numbers, with at least 50,000 arriving in three days last week. As the UN reports, military violence in Northern Rakhine has increased over recent weeks leaving many more Rohingya people at risk and likely to flee across the border. Until there is an end to all violence in Rakhine, and the government provides humanitarian access to people in need and looks to protect the rights of Rohingya people, the crisis is only likely to worsen.

Only about a quarter of the UN’s US $434 million (AUD $556m) emergency humanitarian appeal has been delivered. With hundreds of thousands more people fleeing over the border, international donors need to help plug the funding gap.

Oxfam Australia has launched a public appeal and is calling for Australians to donate to help support its Rohingya Refugee Response in Bangladesh.

For interviews with staff in Bangladesh and Australia, or more information, please contact Dylan Quinnell on 0450 668 350 or dylanq@oxfam.org.au


Notes to editors

Photos of conditions in the camps and Oxfam’s response are available at: https://wordsandpictures.oxfam.org.uk/?c=34103&k=594489be49