The Disasters Emergency Committee in Scotland has raised more than half a million pounds for people fleeing Myanmar, as well as the overstretched communities hosting them in Bangladesh.
The appeal launched last Wednesday (October 4).
The thirteen DEC member charities are already on the ground in Bangladesh providing temporary shelter, emergency healthcare, food, clean drinking water and sanitation services, such as latrines and hygiene kits.
DEC Chair in Scotland, Marie Hughes said: “The Scottish public is once again digging deep and we want to say a big ‘thank you’ to everyone who has donated so far.
“In only a few weeks, we have seen half a million people, mostly Rohingya women and children, flee into Bangladesh; one of the fastest movements of people in recent decades. This money is vital to help our agencies respond to the scale of this crisis.
“More than 100,000 emergency shelters and 25,000 toilets are urgently needed and some 24,000 pregnant women require maternity care. DEC member charities are working urgently at the Myanmar border, but much more still needs to be done.”
Trucks containing water tanks and other lifesaving equipment from the UK have arrived in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh, which has seen hundreds of thousands of people arriving from Myanmar in the last month.
The 15-tonne shipment, which was dispatched in late September, included materials for building toilets and water distribution systems – equipment that will help prevent the outbreak of disease in the muddy camps where people are sheltering from the monsoon in makeshift shelters.
Oxfam’s humanitarian coordinator in Bangladesh, Paolo Lubrano, said: “The conditions I have seen in overcrowded settlements are beyond miserable. Refugees are facing a toxic combination of wet weather, overcrowding and poor sanitation. Thanks to the generosity of the British public, this shipment will allow us to provide clean water and install toilets to keep people healthy.”
Bangladesh has been hit by severe flooding in recent weeks and is still in the grips of the monsoon. Newly arrived families are living on bare muddy ground without drainage or anywhere to wash. There is just one toilet per hundred people in some settlements. In such circumstances, the outbreak of dangerous diseases like Cholera is almost inevitable.
The Scotland appeal total so far is part of an overall figure of more than £7 million given by the UK public by text, phone and online, which includes £2.7 million from the UK Government, through its Aid Match Fund.
To make a donation to the DEC Emergency Appeal visit www.dec.org.uk, call the 24-hour hotline on 0370 60 60 610, donate over the counter at any high street bank or post office, or send a cheque. You can also donate £5 by texting the word SUPPORT to 70000.