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UNHCR: Resources insufficient to handle Rohingya crisis

  • Published at 05:07 pm September 9th, 2017
UNHCR: Resources insufficient to handle Rohingya crisis
The United Nations (UN) has stated that it does not have the resources needed to take care of the ever growing number of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. Vivian Tan, a spokesperson for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), made the comment in an interview with the Al Jazeera on Friday. When asked about whether the UN have the resources to look after 270,000 Rohingya refugees, Tan said: “No we [UN] don't, not at this point. The numbers are immense and they just keep growing. “Over the last few days, different UN agencies and NGOs went to affected areas to do a rapid means assessment and we reached out to areas we were not previously aware were hosting refugees,” she said. She added: “We [UN] are consistently told by most of the arriving refugees that their home or village was burned. Some said they lost family members.” “In terms of how they fled, most reported walking for several days. They said they hid in jungles, in mountains, and they helped each other because of the difficult conditions. There are a lot of really heartbreaking stories,” she further said. The UN Refugee Agency spokesperson lauded Bangladesh’s response to the influx of refugees pouring into the country. In the interview, Tan also said: “What has really been surprising and heartening is the local response. In areas such as Shamlapur and Teknaf, villages are just taking them in. The public response has been very encouraging in spite of Bangladesh hosting Rohingya for decades.”
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More than 270,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled the ongoing army crackdown in Rakhine state into Bangladesh over the past 14 days. The refugees described shocking tales of murder, rape, torture and razed villages. The Myanmar army has blamed the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) for the latest round of violence that began last month and claimed it had killed nearly 400 Rohingya fighters.
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However, the fleeing refugees have accused the country's security forces of responding with a brutal campaign of arson and murder intended to force them out of Myanmar. The Rohingya are part of a minority Muslim group who have lived in Myanmar's Rakhine for centuries. They have been oppressed for decades under the country's Buddhist majority. More than 50% of the ethnic group have been forced to become refugees in neighbouring countries. Less than one million Rohingya currently remain in Myanmar.