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470,000 Rohingyas in need of shelter in Bangladesh: UN

470,000 Rohingyas in need of shelter in Bangladesh: UN

Dhaka: At least 470,000 Rohingyas are in need of shelter in refugee camps in Bangladesh, the UN office in the south Asian country said on Sunday.

According to a report by the UN’s Inter Sector Coordination Group, the total number of refugees who have arrived since August 25 has climbed to 436,000, although it said that movement across the border had reportedly slowed down in the last two days.

“An estimated 470,000 people are in need of shelter assistance. This includes people who arrived prior to and after 25 August,” the UN report was cited by Efe news agency.

On Thursday, the UN put the number of refugees at around 429,000.

The report also said that only small groups of refugees have been seen arriving in Cox’s Bazar, the southeastern district of Bangladesh to which most of the Rohingyas have fled.

According to the document, the refugees living in makeshift settlements number around 200,000, while around 148,000 have taken shelter in pre-existing refugee camps and 88,000 are living with host communities.

The UN said that the settlements have been stretched to the limit by the massive number of refugees who have arrived in less than a month and the refugees are living in extremely difficult conditions, in addition to carrying severe trauma after escaping the violence in Myanmar.

“In some of the sites that have spontaneously emerged, there is no access to water and sanitation facilities, raising the risks of an outbreak of disease,” the UN said in the report.

Bangladesh’s government has deployed the army to distribute aid in the camps and build roads to the settlements.

The exodus of the Muslim minority Rohingyas began on August 25, when the Myanmar army launched an offensive in the region, following an attack by Rohingya rebels on multiple government posts.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has said that ethnic cleansing of the Rohingyas could be taking place in Myanmar.

Nonprofits have denounced human rights violations and the international community has increased pressure on the Myanmar government over the military operation.

–IANS