On the eve of the South Asian monsoon season, the Open Society Foundations have announced the creation of a $10 million emergency assistance fund to help Rohingya people displaced from Myanmar as well as host communities in Bangladesh.
From April to October, there is a high risk of flash floods, landslides, and cyclones in southern Bangladesh, where hundreds of thousands of displaced Rohingya are sheltered in makeshift settlements that are vulnerable to water contamination and the spread of disease. The fund includes an $8 million gift to BRAC, an international development organization based in Bangladesh, and $2 million in support of other initiatives affecting the Rohingya.
According to OSF, BRAC has mounted the largest civil society response in support of the Rohingya, including more than thirty-two hundred aid workers on the ground. With the aim of ensuring the dignity and well-being of displaced families, the organization's integrated approach includes attention to sanitation and hygiene infrastructure, health care, education, protection, economic security, distribution of non-food items and shelter, and behavioral change counseling.
"The Rohingya people have already suffered serious abuses in Myanmar, and unless exceptional measures are taken, their suffering will continue in Bangladesh when the monsoon season starts this month," said OSF founder and chair George Soros. "The more people are moved out of harm's way, the better the chances of the remaining ones to survive....I urge other philanthropies, governments, and the private sector to develop a comprehensive action plan to provide Bangladesh with major financial support, debt forgiveness, and trade concessions while continuing to call on the Myanmar government to ensure safe, voluntary, and dignified return for the Rohingya."
(Photo credit: UNHCR/Roger Arnold)