Dhaka, Bangladesh
Rohingya exodus shows no respite

Rohingya exodus shows no respite

The exodus to Bangladesh shows no sign of slowing with 370,000 the latest estimate, according to a UN refugee agency spokeswoman, up from an estimate of 313,000 on the weekend, reports UNB. Bangladesh was already home to about 400,000 Rohingyas. Many refugees are hungry and sick, without shelter or clean water in the middle of the rainy season. The United Nations said 200,000 children needed urgent support. Two emergency flights organized by the U.N. refugee agency arrived in Bangladesh with aid for about 25,000 refugees. More flights are planned with the aim of helping 120,000, a spokesman said. "We now estimate that 370,000 stateless Rohingya refugees have fled into Bangladesh since 25 August," UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards told a press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva on Tuesday. The increase in the estimated total is a result of more interagency assessment teams being able to reach more villages, hamlets and pockets where refugees have gathered. Rohingya refugees continue to arrive at Kutupalong and Nayapara camps, where UNHCR operates. With more than 70,000 refugees now in both camps, the population has more than doubled since 25 August. "Both sites are beyond saturation point. Some refugees who have been living in these camps are hosting up to 15 newly-arrived families in their small huts, yet new arrivals are still spilling onto the walkways under plastic sheets. We have opened up public buildings and set up large tents to accommodate the new arrivals," said the Spokesperson. Many of the new refugees are staying in the makeshift settlements or among local Bangladeshi host communities who generously share whatever resources they have. These spontaneous sites require proper planning to ensure basic shelter, safety and hygiene standards. Meanwhile, UNHCR's Assistant High Commissioner for Operations, George Okoth-Obbo, will arrive in Bangladesh this week. Worry is also growing about conditions inside Rakhine State, with fears a hidden humanitarian crisis may be unfolding. UN Rights Commission has appreciated encouraged the Bangladesh government for maintaining open borders for the Rohingya refugees, and urged the international community's support in helping Bangladesh so that in can better assist the refugee population. UNHRC also deplored current measures in India to deport Rohingyas at a time of such violence against them in their country. Some 40,000 Rohingyas have settled in India, and 16,000 of them have received refugee documentation. The UNHRC also appalled by report that the Myanmar authorities have now begun to lay landmines along the border with Bangladesh, and to learn of official statements that refugees who have fled the violence will only be allowed back if they can provide proof of nationality". Given that successive Myanmar governments have since 1962 progressively stripped the Rohingya population of their political and civil rights, including citizenship rights - as acknowledged by Aung San Suu Kyi's own appointed Rakhine Advisory Commission - this measure resembles a cynical ploy to forcibly transfer large numbers of people without possibility of return, the UNHRC said.

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