Feb. 15 (UPI) -- A pair of United Nations aid agencies started a campaign Friday to raise nearly $1 billion to help more than 900,000 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, many of whom have been displaced and live in unsecured camps in Bangladesh.
The International Organization for Migration and U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said the campaign aims to raise $920 million -- more than half of which will go for food, water, sanitation and shelter needs. Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have been forced to flee their homes in Myanmar's Rakhine state since 2017 to escape violence.
The Muslim Rohingya population has been denied citizenship and freedom of movement in Myanmar because the government views them as illegal migrants from Bangladesh. Most recently, they have been subject to attack by Myanmar's military and Buddhist mobs in what the U.N. has called genocide.
"Our humanitarian imperative today is to stabilize the situation of stateless Rohingya refugees and their Bangladesh hosts," U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said in a statement. "We are hoping for timely, predictable and flexible contributions in order to meet the goals of this year's appeal.
Grandi said while financial help for the Rohingya is critical at the moment, he called on Myanmar to come up with a long-term solution to help the population.
"While we tackle these immediate humanitarian needs, we must not lose sight of solutions," he said. "I repeat my call to Myanmar to take urgent action to address the root causes of this crisis which have persisted for decades so that people are no longer forced to flee and can eventually return home in safety and dignity."
The plan, outlined Friday in a 90-page report, said conditions at crowded Rohingya camps are critical and early rains are bringing more potential of death because of disease outbreaks, landslides and flash floods.
"Moving forward, we reiterate our commitment to meeting the dire needs of this population and urge the international community to support these efforts," International Organization for Migration director general António Vitorino said.