UNHCR on “Full Alert” as 11,000 Ro­hingya Flee in a Day

Iran News - - WORLD NEWS -

GENEVA (Dis­patches) - Bangladesh border guards re­ported more than 11,000 Ro­hingya refugees cross­ing into their coun­try from Myan­mar, in a sud­den surge, the United Na­tions refugee agency said.

More than half a mil­lion Ro­hingya have fled Myan­mar since Aug. 25 after in­sur­gent at­tacks on se­cu­rity forces trig­gered a vi­o­lent gov­ern­ment crack­down, but the rate had slowed to about 2,000 refugees per day last week, aid agen­cies say.

“We’re back in a sit­u­a­tion of full alert as far as in­fluxes are con­cerned. It is a big in­crease to see 11,000,” Adrian Ed­wards, spokesman for the U.N. High Com­mis­sioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told a news brief­ing in Geneva on Tues­day.

“We have had big num­bers com­ing across by the day over the six weeks of this emer­gency. So we are back up to ap­proach­ing some of those peak ar­rivals. Clearly we have to be pre­pared for more ar­rivals,” he said.

Many of the refugees are re­ported to come from the Buthi­daung area in Myan­mar’s northern Rakhine state, which is 20-25 kilo­me­tres east of Maung­daw.

“Some said they had fled torch­ing and killings back home; one boy was seen with a big gash across his neck,” Ed­wards said.

“We don’t know at the mo­ment what is driv­ing this,” he added. “Some of these peo­ple have fled their homes sev­eral days ago and in some cases two weeks ago, so they moved to­wards the border be­fore com­ing across.” There are also in­di­ca­tions of more re­cent prob­lems. “As you may have seen from me­dia re­ports which I can’t ver­ify, but there are re­ports about fires be­ing seen close to the border (and) other prob­lems there,” Ed­wards said.

Mean­while, a mas­sive cholera im­mu­ni­sa­tion cam­paign be­gan on Tues­day near Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, aimed at pro­tect­ing newly-ar­rived Ro­hingya and host com­mu­ni­ties from the dis­ease which can be deadly, the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion (WHO) said.

Some 900,000 oral vac­cine doses will be dis­trib­uted, in­clud­ing 650,000 in an ini­tial 10-day cam­paign to be fol­lowed by a sec­ond round from Oct. 31 tar­get­ing 250,000 chil­dren be­tween one and five years old, the agency said.

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