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Thousand Of Rohingya Refugees Get Clean Drinking Water, Thanks To Green Technology

The UNHCR along with its partner agencies are hoping to install nine more solar-powered water networks across the refugee camp in the coming year.

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Rohingya, Drinking water, amnesty
Formin Akter applies makeup before heading to Chittagong to attend school at the Asian University for Women in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, Aug. 24, 2018. VOA

Thousands of Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, now have safe drinking water thanks to a combination of green technology and sunlight.

Cox’s Bazar has plenty of refugees. More than 900,000. Most have arrived in Bangladesh since August 2017, when violence and persecution by the Myanmar military triggered a mass exodus of Rohingya refugees.

The refugees are living in squalid conditions across 36 different locations in Cox’s Bazar. Water is scarce in most locations. But sunshine is plentiful. Over the past six months, the U.N. refugee agency and partners have been putting into operation solar-powered safe water systems.

Rohingya, Violence. drinking water
Rohingya refugees carry a hume pipe in Balukhali refugee camp near Cox’s Bazar, in Bangladesh. VOA

The UNHCR reports the first five systems are now running at full capacity. It says the new safe water systems run entirely on electricity generated through solar panels. UNHCR spokesman, Andrej Mahecic, says this new network is providing safe water to more than 40,000 refugees.

Rohingya, Violence. drinking water
A new toilet recently installed in a Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh. VOA

“Using the solar energy has allowed the humanitarian community to reduce the energy costs and emissions,” said Mahecic. “So, there is a clear environmental impact of this. Chlorination is also a life-saver in refugee sites of this scale. The recent tests revealed that most contamination of drinking water occurs during collection, transport and storage at the household level.”

Mahecic notes chlorinated water is safe for drinking and also eliminates the risk of the spread of disease.

Also Read: Lack of Proper Sanitation Affects 620 Million Children Around The World: Report

The UNHCR along with its partner agencies are hoping to install nine more solar-powered water networks across the refugee camp in the coming year. The project, which is funded by the agency, will cost $10 million. It will benefit an additional 55,000 Rohingya refugees.

The UNHCR says its ultimate aim is to provide 20 liters of safe water to every single refugee on a daily basis. It says this will be done by piping in the solar powered water to collective taps strategically installed throughout the Kutupalog-Balukhali refugee site. (VOA)

 

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UN to Allocate More Funds for War Crimes Inquiries in Syria and Myanmar

UN Increases 2020 Budget, Adds Funds for War Crimes Inquiries

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Rohingya refugees attend a ceremony organised to remember the second anniversary of a military crackdown that prompted a massive exodus of people from Myanmar to Bangladesh, at the Kutupalong refugee camp in Ukhia. VOA

The United Nations General Assembly Friday adopted a $3.07 billion operating budget that for the first time includes funding for the investigation of war crimes in Syria and Myanmar.

The budget represents a slight increase from 2019’s figure of $2.9 billion.

The increase was the result of additional missions assigned to the U.N. Secretariat, inflation and exchange rate adjustments, according to diplomats.

These include the observer mission in Yemen, a political mission established in Haiti, the investigation of crimes committed in Syria since the outbreak of civil war in 2011, and in Myanmar after the 2017 crackdown on the Rohingya Muslim minority.

Syria, Myanmar inquiries

Myanmar Refugees
Rohingya refugees gather near a fence during a government organized media tour to a no-man’s land between Myanmar and Bangladesh, near Taungpyolatyar village, Maung Daw, northern Rakhine State, Myanmar. VOA

For the first time, the budgets for the Syria and Myanmar investigations, which were previously financed by voluntary contributions, will in 2020 be transferred to the U.N. secretariat’s budget and will receive compulsory contributions from the 193 member states.

Russia proposed multiple amendments during negotiations in the Committee on Budgetary Questions meeting and in the General Assembly plenary session.

Dissenters

At each vote, Russia, Syria, Myanmar and their supporters, including North Korea, Iran, Nicaragua and Venezuela, were outvoted. They all stated that they dissociated themselves from references to investigative mechanisms in the adopted resolutions.

Russia said it would examine its future obligatory payments in light of the vote outcome and predicted an increase in the arrears that currently plague the U.N.’s treasury because of countries not paying enough.

Also Read- Unity in Diversity is the Strength of the Country: Rahul Gandhi

Moscow argued Friday the investigative mechanism was illegitimate, while Damascus stressed that it had no mandate from the Security Council.

The U.N.’s operating budget is separate from the annual budget for peacekeeping operations of some $6 billion that is adopted in June. (VOA)