Since the beginning of the current crisis last Aug. 25, Turkey has provided more than $10 million in humanitarian aid to Rohingya refugees in southeastern Bangladesh, the head of a Turkish state-run disaster relief agency said Thursday.
"Turkey, along with all official institutions, distributed more than $10 million" to the Rohingya camps in Bangladesh, Mehmet Gulluoglu, the head of the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), told Anadolu Agency.
"We told Bangladeshi authorities that we are ready to do more, to cooperate to help needy people along with local Bangladeshis and Rohingya refugees," he said.
Gulluoglu said that since the beginning of the crisis, Turkey had provided active humanitarian aid, such as shelters, food, clothing, and health care. "We set up a field hospital there. The first Rohingya child was born at the hospital on Feb. 19," he added.
The hospital was built and is operated by Turkey's Health Ministry and AFAD to provide emergency health support for refugees.
Gulluoglu said the camps in Bangladesh were some of the most crowded in the world and that healthcare services were amongst the refugees' most urgent needs.
"Since the hospital started to operate in early January, more than 2,000 people have been examined," he said. Gulluoglu added that work on a second field hospital and health clinics in the camps continued.
He said that negotiations with Bangladeshi authorities on the issue of the Rohingya Muslims had been continuing both in Turkey and in Bangladesh.
"But this is not an easy issue. This is an issue that has been going on in Myanmar's Western Rakhine state for many decades. Hundreds of thousands of people, including children and women, are suffering there," he said.
"Weather conditions in Bangladesh are good now. But monsoon rains are expected to start in April. The infrastructure at the refugee camps isn't ready for the natural disasters, which may affect the entire area. "We told Bangladesh authorities that we're ready with all necessary equipment to give support during the rainy season," he added.
Gulluoglu praised the Rohingya repatriation agreement signed last November between Bangladesh and Myanmar but voiced concerns about the security of Rohingya after their return to Myanmar.
"This agreement is a positive step, but it is not finished. Its consequences and question of whether the returning people can live in peace must both be monitored," he said.
"First of all, these [Rohingya] people need to be brought back [to Myanmar], but while this process is happening, humanitarian support needs to be continued as long as they stay there [in Bangladesh].
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