The United Nations has urged the international community to keep aside politics and support the ongoing humanitarian efforts to help Rohingya Muslim refugees in Bangladesh who fled violence seeking safety here.
‘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.
He said the reports they are getting and the pictures they are seeing are the heartbreaking ones to say the least.
Quoting their humanitarian colleagues, he said an estimated 370,000 Rohingya refugees have fled into Bangladesh since August 25 last.
Many of the new refugees are staying in 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, he said.
A flight chartered by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees 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, said the spokesperson.
For its part, WFP is concerned about the health of women and children who are arriving in Bangladesh hungry and malnourished.
The 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.
Across the border in Myanmar, 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 the affected communities and are liaising with authorities to resume humanitarian operations as soon as possible.
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