UN: Rohingya Exodus to Bangladesh Exceeds 400,000
Bangladeshi leader seeks global help as Rohingya Muslims continue to flee Myanmar, overwhelming Bangladesh.
More than 400,000 majority-Muslim Rohingya have fled Myanmar into Bangladesh, the United Nations says as Bangladeshi leader heads to the US to seek global help coping with the crisis.
Bangladesh has been overwhelmed by Rohingya since violence erupted in Buddhist-dominated Myanmar`s Rakhine State on August 25.
On Saturday, the UN said that the total number of people to have entered Bangladesh having fled the unrest had now reached 409,000, a leap of 18,000 in a day.
Conditions are worsening in the border town of Cox`s Bazar where the influx has added to pressures on Rohingya camps already overwhelmed with 300,000 people from earlier waves of refugees.
The UN said two children and a woman were killed in a rampage when a private group handed clothes near a camp on Friday.
Sheikh Hasina, the prime minister of Bangladesh, departed for New York City on Saturday to plead for international help and demand more pressure on Myanmar during talks at the UN General Assembly on Thursday.
She will seek immediate cessation of violence in Rakhine State in Myanmar and ask the UN secretary-general to send a fact-finding mission to Rakhine, Nazrul Islam, a spokesman for the prime minister, told AFP news agency.
She will also call the international community and the UN to put pressure on Myanmar for the repatriation of all the Rohingya refugees to their homeland in Myanmar, he said.
Chris Lom, spokesperson for the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), told Al Jazeera the aid agencies working in the country were struggling to cope with the demand.
Nobody expected this number of people. Of course, if 100,000 would have come, they could have been accommodated, but by the time they stop, it may be 500,000 and may be more. It`s huge, he said.
Lom said aid agencies were working as fast as they can but had so far been able to assist less than a quarter of the refugees.
Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali said: We will continue international pressure on the Myanmar government to immediately end its ongoing ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya.
The foreign ministry on Friday summoned the Myanmar charge d`affaires for the third time in Dhaka to protest at alleged violations of its airspace by Myanmar drones and helicopter.
The ministry warned that the three violations between September 10 and 14 could lead to unwarranted consequences. Myanmar did not immediately comment.
The Bangladesh government earlier protested to the embassy over the planting of landmines near their border, which have killed several Rohingya, as well as over the treatment of the refugees.
Original article with video
UN says 270,000 Rohingya fled Myanmar in past two weeks
GENEVA—An estimated 270,000 Rohingya refugees have fled Myanmar in the past two weeks and sought refuge in Bangladesh, where two existing refugee camps are bursting at the seams, the UN refugee agency UNHCR said on Friday.
The exodus of the minority Rohingya was triggered by insurgent attacks on 25 August and an army counter-offensive.
Myanmar says its forces are fighting a legitimate campaign against terrorists responsible for a string of attacks on the police and army since last October. Officials blame Rohingya militants for killing non-Muslims and burning their homes.
The two refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar in southeast Bangladesh – home to nearly 34,000 Rohingya refugees before this influx – are now bursting at the seams. The population has more than doubled in two weeks, totalling more than 70,000. There is an urgent need for more land and shelters, UNHCR said in a briefing note for reporters in Geneva.
The vast majority are women, including mothers with newborn babies, families with children. They arrive in poor condition, exhausted, hungry and desperate for shelter.
The United Nations was expecting a total refugee influx of 300,000, up from a previous estimate of 120,000, an official told Reuters on Wednesday.
The International Organization for Migration said the estimate of new arrivals had increased considerably partly because of an assessment on 6 September, when humanitarian workers visited more locations, and found 75,000 newly arrived people in nine locations.
There were 130,000 people in the registered refugee camps and three makeshift settlements, 90,000 in host communities, and nearly 50,000 in new spontaneous settlements which are expanding quickly with people still searching for space to make temporary shelters, an IOM statement said.
While most of Rohingya refugees arrive on foot, mostly walking through the jungle and mountains for several days, thousands are braving long and risky voyages across the rough seas of the Bay of Bengal, UNHCR said.
At least 300 boats arrived in Cox`s Bazar on Wednesday, IOM said.
(Reporting by Tom Miles; Editing by Alison Williams)
Photo on front page: Houses were on fire in Gawdu Zara village, northern Rakhine state, Myanmar, on Thursday, 7 September. Journalists saw new fires burning in the Myanmar village that had been abandoned by Rohingya Muslims, and where pages from Islamic texts were seen ripped and left on the ground. Source: Associated Press. Photo on this page: Rohingya family wades through murky waters to escape violence in northern Rakhine State, Myanmar. Source: The Star.
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