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Funding for Rohingya

Save the Children has welcomed an Australian Government announcement of a further $10 million in funds to help aid agencies respond to the growing humanitarian crisis on Bangladesh's border with Myanmar.
23 October 2017

The latest UN figures show more than 582,000 Rohingya – half of them children – have fled Northern Rakhine State in neighbouring Myanmar since violence broke out on August 25th, with women, children and men continuing to arrive in overcrowded camps.

As part of the $10 million package, the Australian Government will contribute a further $1 million to Save the Children's response – that comes in addition to recent funding of $2 million, and will allow the aid agency to reach about 147,000 people.

The extra $1 million will support the work of Save the Children's Emergency Health Unit – which is providing critical life-saving health and nutrition support. It will also allow the organisation to expand its programs providing education and protection to children whose lives have been devastated by violence.

Save the Children's Director of Policy & International Programs Mat Tinkler has recently returned from Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh. He said a large proportion of the people in need were women and children.

"I was shocked and confronted by the stories told to me by people in the camps of horrific violence against them and their families," Mr Tinkler said.

"We've also identified more than 1200 children who arrived unaccompanied and separated from their families, who have witnessed things no child should ever see. We are working to provide vital support and protection to these children, to help them begin to recover from what are incredibly traumatic events."

The Emergency Health Unit's Dr Unni Krishnan said the extra funds would help medical staff on the ground save lives.

"Our specialist medical teams are prioritising the most vulnerable by focusing on healthcare for children, pregnant women and new mothers," Dr Krishnan said.

"But the terrible and unsanitary conditions in these camps mean it's important to have as many medical and health professionals on hand to monitor and respond to any outbreak of disease – our teams stand ready to do so."

Mr Tinkler said while immediate attention needed to be given to providing life-saving emergency assistance, this was likely to be a protracted crisis that would require long-term support.

"In particular, it's critical to ensure children are provided with education so another generation of Rohingya are not robbed of their potential to learn, develop and live dignified lives," he added.

For interviews call Alex Sampson on 0429 943 027.

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