Extra £12m in UK aid pledged for Myanmar’s Rohingya

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Rohingya refugees resting after crossing into BangladeshImage copyright Getty Images
Image caption More than 620,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh

An extra £12m of UK aid will be sent to help Rohingya Muslims fleeing violence in Myanmar, International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt has said.

Violence in the Rakhine state of the country, formerly known as Burma, has forced more than 620,000 Rohingya to flee to neighbouring Bangladesh.

The money will be spent on drinking water, food, latrines, shelters, soap, cooking utensils and water cans.

The extra cash brings the UK’s support for the Rohingya to £59m since August.

The Department of International Development has estimated that international funding for the crisis will start to run out by February next year, unless other countries pledge longer-term support.

On a visit to Bangladesh, Ms Mordaunt met refugees living in camps in the fishing port of Cox’s Bazar.

She said: “This looks like ethnic cleansing.

“The Burmese military must end this inhumane violence and guarantee unrestricted humanitarian access so aid can reach those in need in Burma.

“Any return of families to their homes must be safe, voluntary and dignified.”

How did the violence start?

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Media captionWatch: Who are the Rohingya?

Violence in the region began on 25 August when Rohingya militants allegedly killed 12 people in attacks on police posts.

The attack was blamed on the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (Arsa).

Since then hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims – a stateless minority in the Buddhist-majority state of Rakhine – have fled Myanmar for Bangladesh near the city of Cox’s Bazar.

The Rohingya claim that they are being forced out of their villages by the state’s military, whereas the state says the refugees and Muslim militants are burning their own homes.

Read more on what sparked the violence in Rakhine.

The money will also be used to provide sanitary products, female-only bathing cubicles and counselling for 2,000 survivors of sexual violence and 10,000 women suffering the trauma of war.

A separate £12m aid package, which will be spread across multiple countries to help protect women from sexual and gender-based violence, was also announced.

“The countless stories of sexual violence I have heard from Rohingya women and girls are truly shocking and the high rates of this crime across the world are a global scandal,” Ms Mordaunt said.

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