The number of Rohingyas fleeing to Bangladesh to escape the ongoing campaign of barbaric assault on them by the Myanmar government will hit the one-million mark by the end of this year if the Rohingya influx continues at the current rate, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner (operations) George Okoth-Obbo and Director of the IOM’s Department of Operations and Emergency Mohammed Abdiker Mohamud disclosed it to journalists at a press briefing at Hotel Amari in Dhaka on Thursday, after their joint observation of the current trend in the refugee influx.
Since the beginning of a military crackdown on the Muslim minority in Rakhine state of Myanmar on August 24, some 400,000 Rohingyas entered Bangladesh, and countless more are arriving every day.
Abdiker said: “…the number will soar as every day 10,000-20,000 people are arriving [Bangladesh]. Two weeks back, we said 70,000 refugees entered. Yesterday [Wednesday], the number was 379,000.”
He added that they were expecting a larger influx of refugees from the neighbouring country in the coming days and the tally would exceed one million by the end of this year.
The spokespersons from the two UN organs applauded the initiatives taken by the Bangladesh government, local and foreign NGOs, and people in Cox’s Bazar.
Saying the relief materials provided to the refugees would not suffice to meet their needs, they urged the international community to extend their support to the persecuted people.
What the international community is doing is not enough to help the Rohingyas out. They should come up with more support, said Abdiker.
Okoth-Obbo said: “We acknowledge that a lot of work has been done. [Still], there is a lot to do. What this country faces is a serious humanitarian situation.”
Bangladesh saw as many as 400,000 refugees arrive in the last two to three weeks, a huge burden for a country which is battling with its own challenges, he said.
Okoth-Obbo laid emphasis on a comprehensive approach as they were working on the provision of basic needs to them.
“We need a very effective system of coordination, which will ensure that…all the players have worked…together with the government in a highly coordinative manner,” he added.
Okoth-Obbo also said that although the dependence on the Bangladesh government staff and UN officials was on the rise, an increasing number of experts and doctors from around the world were visiting the Rohingyas.
The UNHCR pledged its support to the Bangladesh government in the biometric registration process for the refugees.
Abdiker and Okoth-Obbo also fretted over the outbreak of diseases in areas inhabited by the refugees.