UN boosts response as 270,000 flee Myanmar into Bangladesh in 2 weeks

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UNITED NATIONS, Sept 8 (APP): The United Nations migration
agency Friday confirmed that 270,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled
violence in Myanmar for safety in Bangladesh over the past two
weeks, and the number of new arrivals continues to increase.
“Humanitarian agencies are deploying mobile medical
teams, installing emergency latrines, providing water, and
are distributing tarpaulins for basic shelter and food rations
to new arrivals. But much more is needed and we are fast running
out of stock,” Margo Baars, who facilitates the Inter
Sector Coordination Group convened by the International
Organization for Migration (IOM), said in a statement.
On Wednesday, at least 300 boats arrived in Cox’s Bazar
from Myanmar. Sea routes are particularly dangerous in this season
of rough seas.
IOM said that new arrivals usually start by looking for space
in the established makeshift settlements, where there are some
services. But these are already full. Three new spontaneous
settlements have sprung up in areas which still have very little services.
An estimated 130,000 of the new arrivals are now living
in the registered refugee camps and three makeshift
settlements of Kutupalong, Leda and Balukhali. Another 90,000
people are sheltering in host communities, and nearly 50,000 have
settled in new spontaneous settlements.
IOM, which on Thursday allocated $1 million from its emergency
funds to boost the humanitarian response in Cox’s Bazar, is working
with the government and partners to scale up its delivery of
lifesaving aid ” most importantly shelter, drinking water,
food and medical assistance” to those most in need.
Separately, the UN Central Emergency Response Fund also
announced a further $7 million to help the thousands of destitute
people who continue to flood into Bangladesh.
Most of the people now crossing the border are women, children
and the elderly, many of whom are vulnerable and lack the ability
to take care of themselves. There are also many pregnant and
lactating women among the new arrivals.
Healthcare facilities are also struggling to provide
adequate services as the number of people in need of emergency
and basic health care continue to grow. Seven mobile health teams
have been deployed to the spontaneous settlement areas, and IOM
and partners are recruiting more doctors, nurses and midwives
to increase the reach of the teams.