The appeal for the displaced Rohingya in Bangladeshi camps is commendable and deserves universal support (Report, 28 September). However, as a former development worker in both Burma and Bangladesh, and a long-term advocate of the Rohingya cause, I am concerned by the lack of detail in the appeal.
Speed of response to reach the affected populations on the ground is critical to outcomes. The Rohingya refugees are concentrated in a remote area of Bangladesh poorly served by roads and airports, and this is the height of the monsoon season. How does the Disasters Emergency Committee plan to get the necessary relief supplies into the makeshift camps? Many of the member organisations cited have had little or no prior operational experience or capacity on the ground in the area. How will it coordinate with the UN organisations and Bangladesh’s government, which have competing relief commitments for the Bangladeshi population, but still retain overall coordination responsibility for the relief efforts?
We need answers now, as a trickle of aid three months down the line will have a greatly diminished impact on the suffering Rohingya.
Dr Joseph Mullen
Former UN adviser to Burma and Commsed adviser to Bangladesh
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