UK leads international support for Rohingya crisis at landmark conference

Read the latest update from DFID on the UK's support for the Rohingya Crisis. You can donate to support the life saving work through the Disasters Emergency Committee's Appeal

Photo: UK aid for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh / Picture: IOM

The UK has led the way in providing support for the Rohingya crisis – the world’s fastest growing humanitarian catastrophe – by committing a further £12 million.

The UK has increased its own support for innocent families who have been forced to flee relentless violence in Burma and make the treacherous journey to Bangladesh to find refuge. This is an increase from £35 million to £47 million (US $63 million) committed since the end of August, including £5 million to match the generous donations of the UK public to the Disaster Emergency Committee appeal.

Ahead of the landmark international pledging conference, which took place in Geneva today (Monday 23 October 2017), the UK had given more than a third of the overall money donated by the international community and the International Development Secretary Priti Patel called on other countries to follow the UK’s lead and step up their support.

At the conference today countries including Sweden, Australia, Denmark and the UAE, have in total pledged over $300 million. This reaches over half of the total funding required to meet urgent humanitarian needs as set out in the UN appeal. Countries are continuing to pledge.

International Development Secretary Priti Patel said:

The international community has followed the UK’s lead and stepped up support which is absolutely vital to save the lives of victims of the world’s fastest growing humanitarian crisis.

UK aid is helping hundreds of thousands of people who have lost everything and our further support announced today will relieve the suffering of thousands more.

Ethnic cleansing, sexual violence, starvation and the murder of children have no place in our world. Today’s pledges are only just the start, and the world cannot afford to wait as innocent men, women and children continue to lose their lives.

Minister of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Mark Field said:

During my recent visits to Burma and Bangladesh, I saw for myself some of the communities which have been so badly damaged by what is happening in Burma.

I am delighted to be in Geneva to announce the UK’s latest contribution of £12 million to the Burma crisis response. Alongside the £30 million we provided to meet the urgent humanitarian need, and the £5 million of public donations that the UK matched pound for pound for the Disasters Emergency Committee Appeal, the total contribution of the UK government is now £47 million.

I hope that the international community will continue to unite with the UK in its efforts, and help bring an end to this terrible humanitarian crisis.

Today’s announcement of extra support builds on existing UK aid which is already helping to provide:

  • Emergency food to 174,000 people;
  • Lifesaving nutritional support to more than 60,000 children under-five and over 21,000 pregnant and breastfeeding women;
  • Safe drinking water, emergency latrines and hygiene kits for more than 138,000 people;
  • Essential items including soap, cooking utensils and water cans for over 131,000 people;
  • Emergency shelter for over 130,000 people and support to make shelters more resilient to rain and heavy winds for 450,000 people as the cyclone season approaches;
  • Access to female bathing cubicles and sanitary items for more than 35,000 girls and women;
  • Counselling and psychological support for over 10,000 women suffering from the trauma of war and over 2,000 survivors of sexual violence;
  • Medical help for over 50,000 pregnant women to give birth safely.
  • With UK aid support in Bangladesh, malnourished children on the brink of death are now able to eat, families who have been forced to live out in the open after their villages were burned are getting shelter and clean drinking water is helping stop the spread of disease.

Our existing work in the region meant that we were already in position to provide life-saving support when the crisis flared – without this, aid would have taken much longer to arrive.

The UK is also leading the charge to reform the humanitarian system, to ensure the international community responds efficiently and effectively to crises, pooling resources together rather than competing and working in isolation.