The UN Migration Agency, IOM, in Bangladesh has appealed for an immediate fund of US$ 18 million for humanitarian assistance as tens of thousands of Rohingya continue to stream into Bangladesh since August 25.
“This appeal will be followed by a more comprehensive needs assessment and response plan,” says a statement issued by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Bangladesh today.
The agency estimates a total of 123,600 people have crossed into Bangladesh from Myanmar.
Thousands of people are still arriving every day, looking for space to settle down in, and there are clear signs that more will cross before the situation stabilizes, it said.
Prior to the latest influx, IOM Bangladesh was coordinating humanitarian assistance to some 200,000 UMNs living in makeshift settlements in Cox’s Bazar.
Lifesaving services delivered by IOM and its partner agencies include drinking water and sanitation, shelter, food security, health care, education, and psychosocial support for the most vulnerable individuals, many whom are suffering from acute mental trauma or are survivors of sexual violence.
“The new arrivals are putting immense strain on the existing support structures. These need to be immediately scaled up to ensure lives are not put at risk,” said Sarat Dash, IOM Bangladesh Chief of Mission.
“We are running out of space in the existing settlements and new arrivals are pitching camp wherever they can erect some plastic sheeting to protect themselves from the elements. They have very limited understanding of the available services. We need to urgently look at their shelter needs and make sure people have safe spaces in which to stay,” he added.
Most of the people crossing the border are women, children and the elderly, many of whom are vulnerable and lack the ability to take care of themselves.
Bangladesh already hosts an estimated 400,000 UMNs [Undocumented Myanmar Nationals], most of whom are living in the greater Chittagong area, which is extremely vulnerable to external shocks, including cyclones.