European Union Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides on Tuesday described the Rohingya crisis as the fastest-growing crisis in the world saying the EU has decisively stepped up its aid to Rohingya communities, reports UNB.
“The Rohingya people aren’t alone in these difficult times. We commend and support the generous approach of the Bangladeshi authorities,” said Stylianides who started a two-day visit to Bangladesh.
The EU Commissioner is here to assess the situation on the ground and visit EU aid projects that are addressing the Rohingya refugee crisis.
His visit comes a week after the EU and its member states pledged more than 50 percent of the USD 344 million total funding raised at the international Conference on the Rohingya Refugee Crisis held in Geneva.
“Here in Bangladesh the scale of this emergency is painfully clear to see,” he said.
At the same time, the EU continues to insist on full aid access in Myanmar and is working to address the situation in Northern Rakhine State.
“Beyond aid, it’s crucial that every refugee is registered properly and that Myanmar takes all the necessary steps to allow them a voluntary and dignified return in secure conditions,” said Commissioner Stylianides.
Commissioner Stylianides visited the Kutupalong camp in Cox’s Bazar area on Tuesday, where an EU-funded project is helping over 100,000 people, mostly vulnerable children and women, gain access to essential services.
The Commissioner will also hold meetings with government officials of Bangladesh and humanitarian partners to discuss the international community’s response to the crisis and Bangladesh’s needs moving forwards.
The visit follows that of the Commissioner to Myanmar in May earlier this year.
On October 23, the European Union co-hosted the Pledging Conference on the Rohingya Crisis, with Kuwait, in Geneva, in partnership with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
International donors made pledges for more than US$ 344 million to urgently scale up the delivery of critical humanitarian assistance to both Rohingya and host communities in Bangladesh.
With a pledge of€ 30 million from the EU budget on 23 October, the total Commission support to the Rohingya and their host communities in Bangladesh and Myanmar comes to €51 million for 2017.
The European Union has been funding humanitarian programmes in Cox’s Bazar since 1994 through international NGOs and the UN.
Since 2007, the EU has allocated over €163 million to Bangladesh; of which close to €43 million has been allocated for basic health care, water, sanitation, shelter, nutrition, protection and psychological support to the Rohingya.
In Myanmar, the EU has provided more than €76.5 million in humanitarian aid since 2010 to vulnerable people in Rakhine state, including in the more isolated northern areas which Christos Stylianides became the first European Commissioner to visit earlier this May.
In 2017, the EU is funding projects throughout Myanmar’s Rakhine State to address some of the most urgent needs, including food and nutrition, basic health services, water, sanitation, protection and shelter for affected communities displaced by the outbreaks of violence in 2012 and 2016.