The UN has appealed to the international community to keep aside politics and support the ongoing humanitarian efforts to help Rohingya Muslim refugees from Myanmar.
“I think the entire international community should support the ongoing humanitarian efforts, regardless of politics. These are people in need. These are very vulnerable people who have crossed the border, who've, as we said, are hungry and are malnourished and deserve to be helped,” said Stéphane Dujarric, spokesman for the UN Secretary-General at a press briefing yesterday.
Stéphane Dujarric came up with the response when asked about whether he was disappointed that major regional players, including India, in particular, have actually not come out and supported when their support could have been quite crucial.
He also said, “Our humanitarian colleagues say that an estimated 370,000 Rohingya refugees have fled into Bangladesh since 25 August. Many of the new refugees are staying in the makeshift settlements or with host communities who are generously sharing whatever they have. The Government of Bangladesh has asked the UN to help establish a new camp to house the newly arrived refugees.”
In answer to a question from a reporter regarding plans to ramp up aid supplies to the rapidly increasing number of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, the spokesperson said that there are plans and they are “urgently appealing for more funds.”
“We are. And as, I think I've just said, they are, whether it's UNHCR, WFP and other agencies, are trying to get as much aid into the country as quickly as possible”, he added saying, “the challenge is that a lot of people are crossing the border.”
Apart from this, the UN SG’s Spokesperson also updated the reporters about the overall aid and humanitarian situation surrounding the Rohingya crisis.
“A flight chartered by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) carrying emergency aid — such as shelter materials, sleeping mats and other supplies — for Rohingya refugees has landed in Bangladesh. The cargo has been loaded onto trucks which will bring the supplies to the refugee camps at Cox’s Bazar. A second flight, donated by the United Arab Emirates, has also landed in Bangladesh, carrying some 2,000 family tents. The supplies in both flights will help 25,000 refugees, and further flights are planned so that 120,000 people can be reached in total”, he informed about the current speed of humanitarian supplies being delivered to the Rohingyas.
“For its part, WFP is concerned about the health of women and children who are arriving in Bangladesh hungry and malnourished. WFP has been providing food to some 70,000 people as they arrive in Cox’s Bazar and to nearly 60,000 people living in camps and makeshift settlements in the region,” he said.
“Across the border in Myanmar, our humanitarian colleagues continue to be concerned about reports of continuing violence, fires and displacement of tens of thousands of people in Rathedaung Township in Rakhine State. Most aid activities on the part of UN agencies and international non-governmental organisations across northern Rakhine remain either suspended or severely interrupted, although some assistance is being delivered by the Government and through the Red Cross. The UN and its partners continue to offer support to the Government to meet the needs of all affected communities and are liaising with authorities to resume humanitarian operations as soon as possible,” He said about the situation within Myanmar.
The Rohingya people are Muslim minority that lives in the Buddhist-majority state of Rakhine, and they have experienced decades-long persecution in Myanmar, which – since gaining independence in 1948 – has refused to recognise the group as citizens.