UN fears 10 lakh Rohingya influx into Bangladesh
The UN agencies fear that the numbers of Rohingya influx in Bangladesh may reach 10 lakhs by this year if the situation in Myanmar's Rakhine State remains unchanged.
UNCHR Assistant High Commissioner (operations) George Okoth-Obbo and International Organization for Migration (IOM) Director (operations and emergency) Mohammed Abdiker Mohamud made this comment in a joint press conference held in Dhaka on Thursday.
"We are getting concerned," Mohammed Abdiker Mohamud, director of operations and emergency at the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), said at a media briefing on Thursday after his visit to Cox's Bazar.
The two officials urged the international community to extend their support to meet the immediate need to Rohingya Muslim refugees.
Terming the situation UN Secretary-General António Guterres in fresh press release on Thursday said,"The humanitarian situation is catastrophic." He said, noting that at the time of his briefing to the press last week, there were 125,000 Rohingya who had fled into Bangladesh. That number has now tripled to nearly 400,000 and people are arriving hungry and malnourished and finding shelter in makeshift settlements or with host communities.
Earlier, the UN said that the number of Rohingyas has stands about 4 lakh. Nearly 60 percent of the almost 400,000 Rohingyas who have fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar since Aug 25 are children. The massive influx has overwhelmed existing refugee camps and new arrivals have been forced to seek shelter where they can.
"There are acute shortages of everything, most critically shelter, food and clean water," said UNICEF's Representative in Bangladesh Edouard Beigbeder.
Abdiker Mohamud said about 10,000 to 20,000 new Rohingyas arriving in Bangladesh a day, "the international humanitarian agencies not yet to do enough" in response to the humanitarian crisis.
Mohamud called for international help to deal with the crisis.
Refugee agency UNHCR's Assistant High Commissioner (Operations) George Okoth-Obbo was also present at the briefing.
He said international community is "not yet doing enough" in response to the humanitarian crisis created in Cox's Bazar after the new 400,000 Rohingyas arrived in Bangladesh fleeing violence in Myanmar since Aug 25.
"More needs to be done," he said, appreciating the Bangladesh government for its emergency response to the crisis.
This is a very large number and Bangladesh has its own challenges," he said, adding that there has to be "very strong appreciation and acknowledgement" to the government and people of Bangladesh for giving them shelter.
He, however, said the situation is quite tough and it calls for a "comprehensive response" to the situation.
He said lots need to be done, though lots have been done. "We have to step up across all areas of need."
He also appreciated the government's steps for biometric registration of all refugees and said they are ready to assist in that effort.
"We are very much delighted for that [biometric registration]," he said, adding that it is "important" to determine the exact number and document their profiles for a proper response to the crisis.
A fresh influx of Rohingya refugees has crossed into Bangladesh after insurgents attacked as many as 30 police outposts and a military camp in Myanmar's Rakhine State on Aug 24.
A total of 103 Rohingyas have been admitted to CMCH in the days since, most wounded in gunfire and explosions. Two of them have died.