Denmark supports UNHCR with USD 6.3 million to meet critical needs of Rohingya refugees

More Rohingya refugees arrive in Bangladesh every day. The substantial donation from Denmark will support UNHCR’s efforts to develop a new site for the new arrivals to live.

Humaira, 40, crouches in the mud outside her temporary shelter with two of her seven children. She walked for four days from Myanmar with her family.

More than half a million Rohingya refugees have fled violence in Myanmar – and the numbers keep growing. They walk for days, or endure dangerous sea voyages. They arrive exhausted, hungry and sometimes sick – in need of international protection and humanitarian assistance.

These refugees are a stateless Muslim minority in Myanmar. The latest exodus began on 25 August 2017, when violence broke out in Myanmar’s Rakhine State. The vast majority of the refugees reaching Bangladesh are women and children, including newborn babies. Many others are elderly people requiring additional aid and protection.

As more refugees arrive every day there is an acute need for emergency shelters, blankets and other forms of aid. To reduce the risk of waterborne and airborne diseases, refugees and host communities urgently need more clean water, health care and other supplies. Pregnant women, young children and the elderly are especially vulnerable.

In response, UNHCR is appealing for USD 83.7 million to meet the critical needs and has allocated USD 1.2 million from the Danish Emergency Fund towards the needs of the refugees. In addition, Denmark has made a substantial donation of USD 5.1 Million (DKK 32 million) to UNHCR which was pledged at the joint donor conference for the Rohingya crisis in Geneva on 23 October. The conference was co-organized by UNHCR, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

The crucial funding supports UNHCR’s efforts, with the Bangladesh government and partners on the ground, developing a place for the refugees to live near the already full Kutupalong and Nyapara refugee camps. This includes protection, supporting site planning, building latrines and wells, improving water and sanitation facilities and distributing shelter and other critical materials for people to live. As such, by mid-October, UNHCR has 182 emergency staff in Bangladesh, including 84 national colleagues, and has airlifted to Bangladesh some 700 metric tonnes of life-saving aid, including tents, plastic sheets, blankets, mosquito nets, kitchen sets and jerry cans.

UNHCR is also working with others to strengthen the protection of the refugees by collecting data on family profiles and vulnerabilities which helps improving aid delivery and plan for solutions in the future. For those with specific needs, such as victims of gender-based violence and children at risk, UNHCR is supporting safe areas and referral for the appropriate support.

“When new refugee emergencies arise or existing ones escalate, it is important for UNHCR to be flexible and adaptable to new conditions, in order to save lives and assist uprooted people with critical protection needs. UNHCR is currently allocating resources and staff to address the pressing needs of the Rohingya refugees and expand the operations together with partners. The Danish contribution of USD 6.3 million (DKK 40.5 million) will allow UNHCR to continue its efforts to stabilize the situation,” says UNHCR acting Regional Representative for Northern Europe, Wilfried Buchhorn.

Read more about how UNHCR is scaling up its delivery of aid to the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh

Denmark as a donor to UNHCR

Denmark has long ranked among UNHCR’s top ten donors, and was in 2016 UNHCR’s 9th largest donor, providing a total of USD 60.3 million (DKK 389.5 million) to UNHCR of which 80 per cent was flexible and unrestricted funding. In addition, Denmark contributes with an Emergency Fund of USD 7.2 million (DKK 50.5 million) at the start of every year, which UNHCR can allocate to where the needs are most urgent.