Caritas Australia Participating In Joint Appeal For Rohingya Refugee Crisis

Rohingya Refugees

Caritas Australia says it is pleased that Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop made the announcement that there would be a joint emergency appeal launched by Australia’s leading aid agencies to help with the crisis in Myanmar and Bangladesh. Eight of Australia’s largest aid agencies have come together to plea for urgent funding to finance aid to nearly a million people that have been forced to flee the violence taking place in Myanmar’s Rakhine State.

Nearly a million refugees have fled

Since the end of August more than half a million people who identify as being Rohingya have fled to Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh. Most of the refugees are women and children. These refugees joined a further 200,000 that were already in Bangladesh. The refugees desperately need food, shelter, blankets, drinking water, sanitation and health care.  The appeal which has the support of the ABC will see the Australian Government matching donations made to the Australian Red Cross and UNHCR up to $5 million. The government is also coordinating with other agencies including Caritas to form a response to the crisis.

Donations will save lives

Paul O’Callaghan Caritas Australia chief executive says he fully supports Ms Bishop’s efforts to motivate Australians. He says that this kind of support will deliver life-saving aid for the hundreds of thousands of people that have been affected by the crisis and are in desperate need. Caritas Bangladesh is already heavily involved in delivering aid and has responded by providing food items such as lentils, salt, sugar, cooking oil and basic utensils. So far 29,000 families have received supplies from the agency.

Fears of a cholera outbreak

Francis Atul Sarker who is an executive director with Caritas Bangladesh says the agency has managed to reach about one-third of the new arrivals in the country, however that is not satisfactory and much more help is required. He says there is the constant threat of an outbreak of an epidemic because people are living in squalor without access to clean water or sanitation. This means an outbreak of cholera could quite easily occur.


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