€150,000 each to Rohingya children and Ebola outbreak


The government of Flanders has released €300,000 in funding to two major crises in the developing world

Preventing a ‘lost generation’

Flanders’ foreign policy minister Geert Bourgeois has provided €300,000 this week to humanitarian and medical crises. Half the money went to the Rohingya children in Bangladesh, while half went towards curbing a new Ebola outbreak in Congo.

The Rohingya crisis stems from long-standing violence against the stateless Rohingya people of northern Myanmar by both Buddhist religious factions and the military. After clashes broke out last year between a Rohingya insurgent group and security forces, nearly 700,000 Rohingya people fled to neighbouring Bangladesh, half of them children.

The Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh is now considered one of the most pressing humanitarian crises in the world. Flanders’ funding is in response to a call by Unicef to help support education facilities in and around the camp.

“The  sudden arrival of hundreds of thousands of children is a huge challenge for Unicef,” said Bourgeois. “Flanders wants to support Unicef and the Rohingya children in refugee camps in order to prevent a lost generation. Without a decent education, these children will not have the knowledge and skills they need to build a future.”

Working to prevent another Ebola crisis

In North Kivu province, meanwhile, in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Red Cross is responding to the latest Ebola outbreak. The outbreak, announced on 1 August, is of particular concern to the organisation because of a combination of the dense population and ongoing conflicts in the province.

The Red Cross fears a repeat of 2014-16 when the Ebola virus killed more than 11,000 people in West Africa. “We are responding to our international responsibility and making €150,000 free in the fight against the virus and to stop it from spreading,” said Bourgeois. “This is the second Ebola outbreak in three months, and expanding the Red Cross’ capacity in the area is crucial.”

Photo: Children at the Kutupalong refugee camp in Coxs Bazar, Bangladesh
©Getty Images