Rohingya refugees cause heavier burden on Aceh provincial governments budget

Banda Aceh (ANTARA News) - The presence of over 100 Rohingya Muslim refugees in Aceh Province has caused a heavier burden on the budget of the provincial administrations social affairs office, a local government official said here on Thursday.

"We have actually informed the Social Affairs Ministry about this issue. The acting Aceh governor, Nova Iriansyah, has also sent letters to the ministry, but we are yet to get the response," Secretary of Aceh Provinces Social Affairs Office, Devi Riansyah, stated.

Speaking to journalists after visiting a Rohingya refugee shelter in Cot Gapu Village, Kota Juang Subdistrict, Bireun District, Aceh Province, on Wednesday, he noted that 99 Rohingya Muslims escaping from Myanmar arrived at Aceh Province on April 20, 2018.

The remaining 20 refugees are being accommodated at a shelter house in Ladong area since their arrival in Kuala Idi waters of Idi Rayeuk Subdistrict, East Aceh Province, on Dec 4, 2018.

The Aceh provincial government has repeatedly requested related ministries in Jakarta for assisting it in connection with the presence of over 100 Rohingya Muslim refugees, but it is yet to get any response as expected, he remarked.

Devi Riansyah revealed that foreign nationals who are stranded in Indonesia should actually be cared by the Ministry of Law and Human Rights through the immigration office as well as the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

"We actually do not have any authority. We do not have budget for feeding the refugees and meeting their necessities. If we allocate funds, it is for humanitarian reasons," he added.

Hence, the Aceh provincial government urged the central government to take immediate measures to help deal with this Rohingya refugees-related problem, because the Bireaun District Government should allocate a budget of Rp100 million per month for the refugees.

"Allocating around Rp100 million every month is a burden for us," he explained, adding that the monthly budget is for providing food, paying for water and electricity fees, giving health services, and paying on-duty and field workers.

Source: ANTARA News

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