Australian Charities Appeal For Funds To Help Deal With Rohingya Crisis

Syrian Refugees

An international appeal to fund the Rohingya crisis has so far raised $278 million. Whilst that sounds a lot, the crisis is one of the world’s worst humanitarian emergencies and the amount raised is less than half of what is needed experts say. The United Nations and International aid agencies have requested $562 million in funding to deliver humanitarian aid to 1.2 million people living in Bangladeshi refugee camps.

Text book ethnic cleansing

Aid workers have expanded their distribution of non-food items and shelter as winter began and health workers have widened their vaccination programs as disease rapidly spread through the camps including diphtheria which is highly contagious. Well over half a million Rohingya Muslims have been forced to flee Myanmar since August last year when the country began systematically attacking Rohingya villages in what is seen to be by the United Nations as a text book case of ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. Survivors say they have witnessed organised rapes, the burning of children and villages being torched.

Australia is doing its bit

Australia has participated in the International response as the Australian Red Cross and the UNCHR have together raised millions of dollars which are being matched by the Australian government. A spokesperson for the Red Cross says the money raided will be spent on delivering healthcare to the sick and injured as well as running field hospitals and mobile clinics. Families will also be able to access clean water and sanitation.

Oxfam says crisis likely to last for years

Save the Children Australia says it has raised over $500,000 which is a great achievement and Oxfam has raised a further $300,0000. Oxfam CEO Dr Helen Szoke says however, that support for the refugees has not kept pace with the sheer scale of the crisis and there is an urgent need for an increase. Dr Szoke adds that is highly likely that crisis will continue for years so it is important that donors provide support for longer term requirements.

Australian government making a contribution

The Australian government says it will spend $30 million of its $3 billion annual overseas aid budget on the Rohingya crisis which includes up to $5 million to match private contributions. The government is also lending its support to programs being run by a variety of Australian charities and is urging the Australian public to give generously. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says the support of ordinary Australians will deliver life-saving assistance to those that have found themselves caught up in the crisis.

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