WHO to help Turkish Rohingya aid effort, says minister

Wed 13 September 2017 10:49 GMT | 14:49 Local Time

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A senior Turkish minister has said the World Health Organization (WHO) will assist Turkey's humanitarian efforts in the Rohingya crisis.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency in the Hungarian capital Budapest, Deputy Prime Minister Recep Akdag said he had asked WHO General Director Tedros Adhanom for their support in facilitating Turkey's plans to set up shelters and camps for Rohingya refugees inside Myanmar and Bangladesh, Anadolu Agency reports.

"He [Adhanom] said he would give this support. We will do our service," Akdag said.

Turkish aid agencies on Monday launched a nationwide aid campaign for Rohingya Muslims fleeing violence in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state.

Akdag said that a number of institutions -- including the Turkish Red Crescent, the Religious Affairs Directorate, and the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) -- are involved in the major campaign.

"Turkey is determined to build temporary shelters and camps to support the children, women, elderly and families in the area," he said on Tuesday.

People in Turkey wanting to donate 10 Turkish liras (approx. $3) can do so by sending an SMS with the word "ARAKAN" (meaning Rakhine) to 2868 or else through bank transfers.

Since Aug. 25, more than 370,000 Rohingya have crossed from Myanmar's western state of Rakhine into Bangladesh, according to the UN.

The refugees are fleeing a fresh security operation in which security forces and Buddhist mobs have killed men, women and children, looted homes and torched Rohingya villages. According to Bangladesh, around 3,000 Rohingya have been killed in the crackdown.

Turkey has been at the forefront of providing aid to Rohingya refugees and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he will raise the issue at the UN.

The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

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