Rohingya Humanitarian Crisis: Covid-19 — [Dame Rosie Winterton in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:39 am on 3rd November 2020.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Nigel Adams Nigel Adams Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) 10:39 am, 3rd November 2020

It is absolutely crucial that we keep a trail and manage to do due diligence before the money is handed over. We work with third parties—non-governmental organisations—to make sure that the money does get to the correct place, where it is needed most. That is absolutely crucial when we are talking about such huge sums and we need to monitor that constantly as we deliver the cash. The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right to raise that point.

The new funding announced last week will provide improved education for more than 50,000 children and young people from the refugee and surrounding local Bangladeshi community, something I know is close to the heart of the hon. Member for Birmingham, Edgbaston and was also mentioned by Apsana Begum. It will also provide food for 290,000 refugees for four months, and provide cash and food assistance for 10,000 of the most vulnerable members of the local economy to cope with the economic impact of the covid-19 crisis.

Jim Shannon rightly asked about humanitarian support and access to those services. Since March, we have committed £11 million to help prepare the refugees for the impact of covid-19. We have backed major deployments to Cox’s Bazar by the UK emergency medical team to offer clinical expertise and set up isolation and treatment centres. United Kingdom aid has created capacity for more than 600 beds for treating refugees and locals alike suffering from severe respiratory infections. More than 2,400 hand-washing facilities have been added to the camps and public health information has been widely shared across communities.

I had the pleasure of a virtual day visit to Myanmar, where I saw at first hand—albeit over the internet—the work that our aid is delivering. If hon. Members would like to see what the UK is doing on the ground in these camps in Myanmar and Bangladesh, I would be more than happy to facilitate access to some of that information and perhaps give a presentation. Meanwhile, we have continued to fund critical services, such as food, regular medical services, clean water, sanitation and protection.

Thankfully, the number of confirmed covid cases in the Bangladeshi camps is much lower than anticipated. The WHO and health agencies are seeking a better understanding of transmission levels and expanding the reach of community health workers in the camps.