EU provides humanitarian aid for Rohingya refugees in Aceh

EU provides humanitarian aid for Rohingya refugees in Aceh

Rohingya refugees arrived at the new shelter in Lhokseumawe, Aceh on July 10, 2020. ANTARA PHOTO/Rahmad/wsj

Jakarta (ANTARA) - The European Union has allocated 35 thousand euros (about Rp573 million) in humanitarian assistance for Rohingya refugees who were rescued recently and allowed to land in Aceh, Indonesia, after spending more than 120 days at sea.

The funds have been channeled through the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) and will be used to provide clean water, sanitation facilities, healthcare, psychosocial support, and necessities such as sleeping mats and blankets, and cleanliness and personal protective equipment, the EU said in a statement here on Tuesday.

The PMI team will also carry out hygiene socialization, focusing on prevention of coronavirus and dengue infections. In addition, the fund will also support efforts to restore contact between separated family members.

The humanitarian aid is part of the European Union's contribution to the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF), which is managed by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

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To avoid persecution in Myanmar and refugee camps in Bangladesh, Rohingya immigrants have been boarding ships bound for other Southeast Asian countries, including Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the situation, with countries in the region closing their borders, leaving a number of ships adrift for weeks, or even months, with hundreds of Rohingyas on board.

The 99 Rohingya refugees currently being sheltered in Indonesia were rescued by three Aceh fishermen, Faisal, Abdul Aziz, and Raja, who approached them upon hearing their cries as their damaged boat began sinking in the Malacca Strait waters.

The three fishermen moved the refugees, including 35 children and 48 women, to another boat and brought them near the North Aceh shore on June 24, 2020.

On the afternoon of June 25, amid extreme weather, strong winds, and dark cloudy skies, several villagers took it upon themselves to evacuate the refugees from the boat and bring them ashore.

The local authorities put them up them in an abandoned immigration building in Blang Mangat, Lhokseumawe, Aceh.

On July 10, 2020, the Rohingya refugees were transferred to a vocational training center in Mee Kandang village, also located in Lhokseumawe.

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