The European Union is going to increase its assistance to the Rohingya refugees who recently became victims of a devastating fire erupted at their camp in Cox's Bazar, killing at least 10 and destroying hundreds of houses.
The commission is providing an additional €150,000 (close to Tk15m) to step up its support for the Rohingyas affected by the massive fire that swept through Kutubkhali refugee camp in Ukhia upazila of the coastal district earlier this month, says a press release.
This follows the initial assistance of €500,000 announced last week as an immediate response to the blaze. The aid is expected to directly benefit 27,500 of the most affected people.
Mwntionable, over a million Rohingyas from the Rakhine state of Myanmar are living at different refugee camps scattered in three upazilas of Cox's Bazar, after being driven out of their homeland through a bloody army crackdown that reportedly burnt down hundreds of villages besides killing thousands of the minority Muslim community.
"The fire has caused many Rohingya refugees, who have been living in refugee camps in Bangladesh for the past three years, lose almost everything again," said Daniela D'Urso who oversees the EU's humanitarian response in Bangladesh, hoping that the additional funding from the EU will provide essential assistance to those most in need.
This EU-funding supports the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society (BDRCS) in delivering much-needed assistance through the distribution of
ready-to-eat food packs, hygiene kits and water buckets, to ensure the daily needs of the affected refugees.
The funding is part of the EU's overall contribution to the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the release reads.
More than 10 people were killed and nearly 50,000 were affected, including injured and missing refugees, after a huge fire broke out on 22 March in Cox's Bazar's crowded Rohingya camp settlements. Following the blaze, a number of facilities, including more than 10,000 homes, hospitals, learning centres, mosques and distribution points, have subsequently been destroyed or heavily damaged.
"The EU together with its member states is the world's leading donor of humanitarian aid. It aims to save lives, prevent and alleviate human suffering, and safeguard the integrity and human dignity of populations affected by natural disasters and man-made crises," says the release.
Through its European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), the EU helps over 120 million victims of conflicts and disasters every year.
The European Commission has signed a EUR 3 million humanitarian contribution agreement with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to support the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF).
The Disaster Relief Emergency Fund was established in 1985 and is supported by contributions from donors. Each time a National Red Cross or Red Crescent Society needs immediate financial support to respond to a disaster, it can request funds from the DREF.