Rohingya influx: UNHCR urges Bangladesh to open border
Amid the dramatically worsening situation in Myanmar's Rakhine state since Friday, the UN Refugee Agency today communicated to Bangladesh government its readiness to support Bangladesh in helping the Rohingya refugees fleeing across the border.
As of Sunday, it was estimated that some 5,200 people had entered Bangladesh from Myanmar since Thursday. Several thousand were also reportedly located along the Myanmar side of the border, said the UN agency in a statement today.
UNHCR underscores the statement by UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Monday in which he condemned the ongoing violence in Rakhine State.
On the Bangladesh side of the border some people are cordoned off in areas near the border, while others are mainly in the Kutupalong area. Most are women, children, or the elderly, and there have been reports of wounded people among them.
Aid efforts involving the Bangladeshi authorities, local communities, UNHCR partners and NGOs have been under way, including food, water, and medical help to the new arrivals, the UNHCR statement read.
UNHCR said it is grateful to the Bangladeshi authorities for the support being provided, adding that it was planning rapid needs assessments, and expressed concern over the precarious situation inside Myanmar.
"We are concerned that numbers of people needing help may rise further over the coming days," it said.
UNHCR said it is aware of several reported instances of people being prevented from entering Bangladesh. This poses very grave risk to the affected individuals.
It said Bangladesh has hosted refugees from Myanmar for decades, and UNHCR believes it is of the utmost importance that it continues to allow Rohingya refugees fleeing from the violence to seek safety there.
UNHCR also calls on the international community to support Bangladesh in doing so, with all necessary aid and other help.
Meanwhile, in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, the security situation means that access to populations in need of help is severely restricted.
"We are appealing to the Myanmar authorities to do everything possible to facilitate humanitarian help and ensure the safety of our staff," it said.