PEKANBARU, Indonesia – Indonesia sent four military planes loaded with 34 tons of humanitarian aid on Wednesday for the nearly 380,000 Rohingya refugees who, according to the United Nations, have fled to Bangladesh from violence in Myanmar.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi and other officials were present at the Halim Perdanakusuma airport in Jakarta when the C-130 Hercules planes took off.
In a televised press conference, Widodo said that this was only the first shipment.
According to a statement from the Cabinet Secretariat, the goods donated include “family packets” containing water, tents, children’s clothing and blankets.
Marsudi said that the aid included necessary items like tents, especially important given the accommodation problems that the refugees face.
This humanitarian crisis started on Aug. 25, when rebels belonging to the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army attacked police and army posts in Rakhine state in western Myanmar, triggering retaliation by the army.
At least 414 people have died according to official estimates, most of them Rohingyas.
More than a million Rohingyas lived in Rakhine before a sectarian conflict broke out in 2012 that killed at least 160 people, and displaced nearly 120,000.
The Myanmar authorities deny them citizenship and classify them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.