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Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh

Volume 644: debated on Wednesday 4 July 2018

9. What steps her Department is taking to protect Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh in preparation for the monsoon season. (906248)

The UK has helped to lead the international response to the crisis. We are working with the Government of Bangladesh and humanitarian partners to improve shelters, provide water and sanitation, vaccinate against deadly disease and pre-position emergency supplies.

Save the Children reports that just over 70% of school-age Rohingya children in Bangladesh are currently out of school. Will the Department help to lead a significant scale-up of education programming in the refugee camps?

Save the Children has warned that not only are powerful storms affecting the Rohingya refugee camps, but such storms are likely to become more frequent. What are the Government doing to ensure that global action is taken to address flooding issues? [Interruption.]

I understand the sense of anticipation. I just remind the House that we are discussing the plight of Rohingya refugees, whom we owe some empathy and respect.

My right hon. Friend the Minister for Asia and the Pacific was at Cox’s Bazar last weekend. He raised issues of global support with the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, who was also there. We are working with global partners to do all we can to meet the needs of those in such difficult circumstances.

The Red Cross has announced that conditions are not ready for Rohingya refugees to return to Myanmar. This will be a protracted crisis, with up to 200,000 Rohingya being affected by the monsoon season. This was not a surprise. Where was the Government’s disaster relief plan?

The hon. Lady is right, and we are already working with other agencies on the fact that the refugees are likely to be there for much longer than people would originally have expected. It is still important that they are safe to return to Myanmar, but if that is not possible, we will indeed be working with others to make sure they are as safe as possible where they are.