Following President Muhammadu Buhari’s call in his speech at the 72nd United Nations General Assembly session, NigeriaUNGA17, the United Nations, on Friday, estimated 200 million dollars to help Rohingya Muslims refugees who have fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar in “massive numbers” to escape a bloody military campaign.
Recall that President Buhari had, during the speech, urged fellow leaders at the United Nations General Assembly to condemn Myanmar’s “ethnic cleansing” of the Rohingya people.
Comparing the situation in Myanmar’s Rakhine province to the massacres in Bosnia in 1995 and Rwanda in 1994, Buhari who is the leader of Africa’s most populous nation declared: “The international community cannot remain silent.” Moreover, according to UN, the money will be needed over the next six months.
Bangladesh and humanitarian organisations are struggling to help 422,000 Rohingya who have arrived since Aug. 25, when attacks by Rohingya militants triggered a Myanmar counter-insurgency offensive that the UN has branded ethnic cleansing.
Bangladesh was already home to some 400,000 Rohingya who fled earlier bouts of violence and persecution in Buddhist-majority Myanmar.
Robert D. Watkins, UN resident coordinator in Bangladesh told newsmen in his office in Dhaka, that the UN has launched an appeal for 78 million dollars on Sept. 9, but the refugees have kept coming.
“Right now, we’re looking at $200 million.
“It has not been confirmed, but it is a ballpark figure based on the estimates on the information we have.
“We base these appeals on immediate needs, and right now we know they’re going to be here for six months,” he said
Myanmar has rejected accusations of ethnic cleansing, saying its security forces are fighting insurgents of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army who claimed responsibility for attacks on about 30 police posts and army camp on Aug. 25
The insurgents were also behind similar but smaller attacks in October 2016 that also led to a brutal Myanmar army response triggering the flight of 87,000 Rohingya to Bangladesh.
Watkins said the exodus since Aug. 25 was much bigger than the flows sparked by ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia during the 1990s.
“It’s different from that here because the numbers are so much bigger, massive numbers in such a short period of time,’’ he said.