Rohingya influx in Bangladesh crosses half million mark: UNHCR
30 September 2017, Nirapad News: UN refugee agency UNHCR said the number of new Rohingya those have fled to Bangladesh recently after latest round of violence in Rakhine state of Myanmar, have crossed half million mark yesterday.
“The latest estimate of the number of Rohingya who have arrived in neighbouring Bangladesh since violence erupted in Myanmar has crossed the half million mark, at 501,000 as of Thursday,” UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic told a press briefing in Geneva yesterday.
As Bangladesh shoulders the full extent of this crisis, UNHCR spokesperson called on all countries in the region to show solidarity and do their part in keeping their borders open and protecting Rohingya, who are fleeing discrimination, persecution and violence in Myanmar.
Mahecic said in order to cut the time Rohingya spend under the open sky, UNHCR this week started distributing plastic sheets and essential relief items to refugees at the entry points to different makeshift camps in Bangladesh.
“To make it easier to bring aid into Kutupalong extension site, the Bangladesh Army started constructing a road on 27 September. UNHCR is contributing USD 2 million out of the total USD 4.2 million budget, supporting Bangladesh’s Office of the Refugee Relief and Repatriation Coordinator (RRRC) to build the road.”
“UNHCR is also urgently shipping in 23 vehicles to assist in aid efforts, including 10 pick-up trucks that will be donated to the government,” the UNHCR spokesperson added. Teams of UNHCR’s partner are also scouting crossing points on the border with Myanmar to see where plastic sheets, pots and pans, jerry cans, plastic mats and solar lamps can be handed to Rohingyas as soon as they enter Bangladesh.
“The 2,000-acre extension site on the outskirts of Kutupalong camp in southeast Bangladesh is already becoming more organised, and is turning into a series of communities as UNHCR and its partners, supporting the Bangladesh government, are able to deliver more emergency relief items,” Mahecic observed.
UNHCR nutrition experts estimate (based on recent surveys on both sides of the border) that almost one in five (18 percent) of the new arrivals are suffering from acute malnutrition. If nothing is done soon, they warn that the proportion could rise to one in four. This is due to more than lack of food.