Rohingya fleeing the violence in Myanmar are desperate to enter Bangladesh to save their lives.
Thousands are stranded at various points along the Naf River where they await entry into the country.
Those who already crossed the border are either starving or facing acute medical needs, said human rights activists and journalists working on the ground.
Monday, thousands more journeyed across the border.
Journalists stationed at the Hnila border in Teknaf said there was “literally thousands of people crossing the border. Smoke all along the border today.”
UN sources say nearly 90,000 Rohingya have crossed the border to enter Bangladesh since the latest episode of military crackdown began in Myanmar’s Rakhine state on August 25, reported Reuters.
However, locals and volunteers working in Teknaf said the number could easily be close to 200,000.
“I can confidently say that the number of Rohingya fleeing the atrocities of Myanmar has now crossed 1.5 lakh,” human rights activist Nur Khan told the Dhaka Tribune on Monday morning. “The Rohingya are pouring into Bangladesh like water. It can be tough to estimate the actual number, but one can easily say it is 1.5 lakh to 2 lakh.”
The Rohingya have built huts for themselves in the hills. As they could not bring any possessions with them, they now wait for aid, he added.
Nur further said that international humanitarian agencies are providing aid inside the camps, where the new arrivals are taking shelter. Besides that, the journalists and human rights activists have not shared much, but are observing from the international humanitarian agencies outside of the camps.
Only Teknaf and Ukhiya locals and some local NGOs are providing dry food and water to the new Rohingya arrivals.
“But these are also inadequate. I have not yet observed any relief work being carried out outside the camps. What they in fact need is medical assistance. I have seen many mothers give birth to new babies, but the mothers have become weak. Many elderly Rohingya need medical assistance. Many with bullet wounds need immediate medical treatment when entering Bangladesh,” Nur further said.
When the Dhaka Tribune asked Joseph Tripura, the Bangladesh spokesperson of UNHCR, about the humanitarian assistance it has provided, he said: “We are in fact engaged in providing assistance to the Rohingya who have already arrived inside the registered refugee camps.
“We cannot say much about outside the camps, but we are offering shelter, food and other humanitarian assistance to the Rohingya, whose numbers are estimated to be about 21,500 in the Kutupalong Rohingya registered camp and 8,500 in the Nayapara Rohingya refugee camp.”
Other than the UNHCR, the Dhaka Tribune tried to contact the International Organization for Migration as well to find out about its humanitarian assistance to the new arrivals, but was unable to contact anyone.