KSRelief donates $3m to UNHCR for emergency aid to Rohingya
DHAKA: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) on Thursday signed a deal with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to donate $3 million for emergency assistance to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.
The deal was signed by Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, supervisor general of KSRelief, and Khaled Khalifa, UNHCR regional representative to the Gulf states.
“Since its establishment in 2015, KSRelief has continued Saudi Arabia’s long history of providing humanitarian assistance, and has closely cooperated with the UNHCR by contributing $45 million to date in response to a number of major displacement situations,” said Al-Rabeeah.
“Following the issuance of royal directives to allocate $20 million in response to the most recent Rohingya crisis, KSRelief has initiated a number of key projects, and has worked closely in coordination with the UNHCR and the government of Bangladesh, to attend to the most urgent humanitarian needs of the Rohingya refugees.”
Ahead of the monsoon season in Bangladesh, which is expected in the next two months, UN agencies fear heavy land and mudslides on the hills where Rohingya live in makeshift houses. The UN has estimated some 150,000 refugees to be at great risk.
“The funds from KSRelief are for core relief items and shelter kits,” Firas Al-Khateeb, UNHCR communication officer, told Arab News.
“Refugees are living mostly in bamboo shelters. We’ve provided upgraded shelter kits, sturdier and waterproof, but these temporary structures aren’t resistant to very strong winds,” he added.
“We’ve distributed 80,000 pre-monsoon kits, strong rope and steel pegs, which will help refugees anchor down their homes ahead of a cyclone.”
To minimize landslide damage, the UNHCR is conducting extensive work in refugee camps. “We’ve been stabilizing slopes, improving pathways with sandbags reinforced with bamboo, improving drainage, and widening a canal to improve water flow and avoid flooding,” said Al-Khateeb.
Bangladesh’s government has launched a national cyclone preparedness program that “will allow safety volunteer units in each camp to be trained in early warning, shelter, search and rescue, first aid and relief,” he added.
Khalifa said: “With the rainy season a few weeks away, we are working around the clock to avoid a catastrophe that could threaten thousands of Rohingya refugee families in Bangladesh.”
He added: “The UNHCR appreciates KSRelief’s kind and timely contribution, particularly in light of the pressing need for emergency assistance for thousands of Rohingya refugees who have arrived in Bangladesh in search of refuge and safety.”
Since Aug. 25 last year, some 700,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar’s Rakhine state for Bangladesh.
Source: Saudi Arabia
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