UK commits support to Bangladesh, Rohingyas amid pandemic


DHAKA, June 24, 2020 (BSS) – The United Kingdom (UK) today reiterated its commitment to provide support to Bangladesh and forcibly displaced Rohingyas, sheltered in the country in this unprecedented crisis due to COVID-19 pandemic.

“Coronavirus is the biggest public health emergency in a generation. The UK aid is committed to helping Bangladesh and the Rohingya people through this devastating crisis,” said UK International Development Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan.

She made the remark while paying a ‘virtual visit’ to Bangladesh, a first for a UK Minister, to see how the UK aid is working with the Bangladesh government to tackle coronavirus in the country.

During the virtual visit, via video calls, Trevelyan met Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen and also saw how UK-backed isolation and treatment centres could protect host community and Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar from the pandemic, a press release issued by British High Commission said here.

During her meeting with Momen, she expressed the British government’s commitment to continue support to Bangladesh for the fight against coronavirus
The UK has dedicated at least £21 million to tackle coronavirus in Bangladesh, where 120,000 cases have been reported, said the release.

“I saw the incredible international work across the country and in Cox’s Bazar to stop the spread of coronavirus and improve healthcare,” said the UK secretary.
The UK will continue to work with Bangladesh government, international partners and the UN Security Council to enable the Rohingyas to return home to Rakhine in a safe, dignified and voluntary manner, and to support them until that is possible, she said.

Trevelyan also thanked the Bangladesh government and people of Bangladesh for their extraordinary generosity and support for the Rohingyas.

The UK aid is supporting construction of vital isolation and treatment centres (ITCs) in Cox’s Bazar, making available over 600 beds for treating both Rohingyas and people from Bangladeshi communities, who develop severe acute respiratory infections due to contracting coronavirus.

The International Development Secretary spoke with Sarah Collis, the team leader of the UK Emergency Medical Team, which is working alongside Bangladeshi medics and the International Organisation for Migration to set up the ITCs and respond to cases in the Rohingya camps.

She also saw the World Food Programme’s emergency food response to the pandemic, backed by the UK aid, which is helping to meet the basic food needs of 100,000 Rohingyas and helping 53,000 of the most vulnerable Bangladeshis living around the camps to cope with the crippling economic impact of the pandemic.

British High Commissioner to Bangladesh Robert Chatterton Dickson said the virtual visit allowed the Secretary of State to see the breadth and depth of the UK support for the country, and underlined the UK’s strong commitment to Bangladesh in the face of the coronavirus challenge.