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Further £12m of UK aid pledged to help Rohingya Muslims

The new international development secretary has visited a refugee camp in Bangladesh.

Penny Mordaunt

New International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt has announced £12 million of extra UK aid to help Rohingya Muslims fleeing violence in Burma.

An estimated 620,000 men, women and children have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh due to persecution from the Burmese military in their native state of Rakhine.

On a visit to Bangladesh, Ms Mordaunt met some of the refugees living in camps in the fishing port of Cox's Bazar.

The Department of International Development( DfID) estimates that international funding for the crisis will start to run out by February next year unless other countries pledge longer term support.

Penny meets refugees at the camp.
Penny meets refugees at the camp.

The additional funding will bring the UK's total support for the Rohingya to £59 million since August this year.

The money cash will be spent on food, drinking water, emergency latrines, temporary shelters, soap, cooking utensils and water cans.

Ms Mordaunt said in a statement: "This looks like ethnic cleansing."The Burmese military must end this inhumane violence and guarantee unrestricted humanitarian access so aid can reach those in need in Burma.

"Any return of families to their homes must be safe, voluntary and dignified."

Makeshift accommodation at the camp.
Makeshift accommodation at the camp. PA

Ms Mordaunt made the visit on the International Day To Eliminate Violence Against Women And Girls, which saw thousands of people take part in protests across the world.

The money will also be used to provide sanitary products, female-only bathing cubicles as well as counselling for 2,000 survivors of sexual violence and 10,000 women suffering the trauma of war, DfID said.

The International Development Secretary also announced a separate £12 million aid package to be spread across multiple countries to help protect women from sexual and gender-based violence.

"The countless stories of sexual violence I have heard from Rohingya women and girls are truly shocking and the high rates of this crime across the world are a global scandal," Ms Mordaunt said.

"The UK is absolutely determined to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls and we are increasing protection for Rohingya women and girls against sexual violence and exploitation."

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