The United States will dispense about $32 million in humanitarian assistance to the Rohingya ethnic minority facing persecution in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, the State Department said Wednesday.
“Through this support, the United States will help provide emergency shelter, food security, nutritional assistance, health assistance, psychosocial support, water, sanitation and hygiene, livelihoods, social inclusion, non-food items, disaster and crisis risk reduction, restoring family links, and protection to over 400,000 displaced persons in Burma and in Bangladesh,” according to the press release.
More than 400,000 people ― almost half of the entire Rohingya population ― have fled their homes and crossed into Bangladesh in the last three weeks. Government authorities are burning Rohingya villages en masse, as revealed by new satellite imagery, and killing indiscriminately.
Bangladesh has been struggling to cope with the influx. The government announced its intention to build shelters capable of housing large numbers of refugees, but it’s limiting the movement of refugees outside the new camps.
The disbursement of aid represents the Trump administration’s first concrete response to the crisis. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley called for Myanmar to let in a U.N. fact-finding mission in July, to no avail.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke with Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Tuesday, according to a statement. He urged her to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid.