Monday 30 November, 2020

UK pledges $15.8 million more for Rohingya

The Latest on the donors conference for Asia's Rohingya refugees (all times local):

6:45 p.m.

The U.K. is trumpeting its support for Rohingya refugees, pledging an additional 12 million pounds ($15.8 million) to help those who have fled violence in Myanmar into Bangladesh.

International Development Secretary Priti Patel urged other countries to step up their support, which she said was "absolutely vital to save the lives of victims of the world's fastest growing humanitarian crisis."

Britain has already committed 35 million pounds to the aid effort, bringing the total contribution to 47 million pounds ($62 million) since the end of August. The money will help bring food, water and essentials to those in need.

Patel says "the world cannot afford to wait as innocent men, women and children continue to lose their lives."


6:25 p.m.

U.S. diplomat says the United States is reviewing appeals for more money to help beleaguered Rohingya refugees who have poured into Bangladesh to escape violence targeting them in Myanmar.

A State Department official says the U.S. has already given $40 million for the Rohingya refugee response, but was not pledging any more money Monday at a one-day conference in Geneva.  The official said: "We are currently reviewing appeals for possible additional funding."

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said 35 countries and international organizations at the conference brought pledges and commitments to the Rohingya since the exodus began on Aug. 25 to some $335 million.  The U.N. has appealed for $434 million.

Canada also said it wasn't providing more funding at Monday's meeting but appeared likely to do so shortly.


5:15 p.m.

The head of the United Nations refugee agency says governments and international donors have committed a total of $335 million to help Rohingya refugees who have poured into Bangladesh.

U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi cited the figure after a daylong pledging conference aimed primarily at supporting a $434 million appeal from U.N. agencies to help the more than 600,000 Rohingya who have fled violence in Myanmar since late August.

The U.N.'s humanitarian aid coordination office initially put the figure at $340 million, up from the $116 million that had been committed before Monday's conference began. The discrepancy could not be immediately explained, but UNHCR officials referred to a fine-tuning of figures.

Grandi told reporters the "generous funding will be extremely useful to better structure and organize the response to the refugee crisis in Bangladesh."


4:45 p.m.

The U.N.'s humanitarian agency says most, but not all, of more than $200 million in new pledges to help Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh will go to programs led by the United Nations and its partners.

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said after Rohingya started fleeing Myanmar in late August that it hoped to receive $434 million for U.N.-led programs to help the refugees through February.

OCHA head Mark Lowcock said at a pledging conference in Geneva that pledges of $340 million had been made "against" that goal, up from $116 million before Monday's gathering.

OCHA spokeswoman Vanessa Huguenin clarified that "almost" $340 million had been recorded for the Rohingya refugee crisis, but not all of it was for the U.N. appeal.

She said some pledges were made to support the Red Cross, bilateral programs and other aid.


1:50 p.m.

The head of the U.N. agency that coordinates humanitarian aid says have pledged roughly $340 million to help more than 600,000 ethnic Rohingya who have fled Myanmar into Bangladesh since August.

Mark Lowcock of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said donors included governments and the European Union at a one-day conference in Geneva for the Rohingya. The U.N. and its partners are seeking $434 million to help the Rohingya through February.

Lowcock said more contributions are still expected.

The U.N. refugee agency says 603,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled into Bangladesh since security forces in neighboring Myanmar launched a violent crackdown against them on Aug. 25.


9 a.m.

U.N. humanitarian officials, high-level government envoys and advocacy group leaders on Monday opened a one-day conference aimed at drumming up funds to help ethnic Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, as the influx from Myanmar has topped 600,000 since late August.

The Geneva meeting hosted by the European Union, the government of Kuwait and the United Nations' migration, refugee and humanitarian aid coordinating agencies aims to help meet a U.N. call for $434 million in funding through February.

Mark Lowcock, head of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, lamented the "humanitarian and human rights nightmare" faced by the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. He said the main focus of the event was "mobilizing resources to save lives and protect people."

Over half of those who have fled are children.

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