U.S. unveils $116M in humanitarian aid for Myanmar, Bangladesh


Sept. 22 (UPI) -- The United States on Thursday announced more than $116 million in humanitarian assistance for Myanmar, Bangladesh and the surrounding region, as the Biden administration seeks to support hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees.

The State Department announced the commitment in a statement, saying it lifts the United States' total assistance for those affected by the Rohingya refugee crisis to $2.2 billion since August of 2021, which is when more than 742,000 members of the minority population were forced to flee mass violence that broke out against them in Myanmar to Bangladesh.

According to the United Nation's High Commissioner for Refugees, half of those who fled the country were children and the violence they were subjected to in Myanmar included the burning down of entire villages and the killings of thousands of families as well as other human rights violations.

The U.N. refugee office said more than 1 million Rohingya have fled Myanmar since the 1990s, with more than 960,000 of them living in Bangladesh.

Most of those who fled to Bangladesh have settled in Cox's Bazar, where a fire erupted in March, displacing thousands of Rohingya.

The State Department said its funding supports the nearly 1 million Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh and the 540,000 Bangladeshi communities that host them with drinking water, healthcare, education, shelter and psychological support.

"The United States recognizes the generosity of the government and people of Bangladesh and other Rohingya-hosting countries in the region and urges other donors to contribute to the humanitarian response in Bangladesh, increase support to those driven from and affected by violence in Burma, and work towards lasting solutions to the refugee crisis," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.