Rohingya emergency: U.S. action welcomed by UNHCR

WASHINGTON - UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, expressed gratitude Friday to the United States after funds it provided for emergency use were directed to deliver life-saving aid to Rohingya refugees who have sought safety in Bangladesh.

“Rapid, targeted support like that received from the United States saves lives,” said Matthew Reynolds, UNHCR regional representative for the United States and the Caribbean.

“Action like this is vital at a time when more people than ever are fleeing conflict and persecution. UNHCR and the people we seek to assist are grateful to the U.S. government and the American people for this crucial support,” Reynolds said.

Five million dollars were allocated from U.S. funding provided for emergency use to help UNHCR and partners deliver immediate assistance to an estimated 380,000 Rohingya refugees who have fled violence in Myanmar and sought safety in Bangladesh.

Separately, more than 3.4 million dollars from funding provided by the U.S. to UNHCR for emergencies have also been allocated to support urgent humanitarian assistance in several countries to people fleeing Venezuela.

These funds are in addition to a fresh contribution of 434 million dollars from the United States as part of its continuing support for the UN Refugee Agency’s global operations.

War, conflict and persecution have forced around 65 million people worldwide to flee for their lives, the largest number ever recorded. Nearly 22 million of these are refugees and more than half are children.

The conflict in Syria, now in its seventh year, has been the world’s biggest producer of refugees. However, forced displacement numbers are also rising in parts of Europe, the Americas, the Middle East and Africa.

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