The flow of desperate Rohingya fleeing across the border from Myanmar into Bangladesh is unprecedented in terms of volume and speed, United Nations humanitarian agencies said today, amid calls for international support for the emergency response.
About 370,000 people have crossed the Bangladeshi border in the last two and a half weeks, according to the UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM).
“UN agencies and the Government were expecting the possibility that as many as 100,000 more people could come across when there were already 600,000 Rohingyas in Bangladesh. But I don’t think anyone expected a mass exodus like this, unprecedented in terms of value and speed,” said IOM Asia-Pacific Spokesperson Chris Lom, speaking with UN News from Cox’s Bazar, a thin stretch of beach in south-eastern Bangladesh.
Mr. Lom, who is one of the UN aid workers on the ground, said the people he spoke with are “very vulnerable, traumatized.”
There are “hundreds of people virtually camped out anywhere there is space. Any spare muddy piece of land or on hillside,” he said, calling for a coordinated, emergency response that is fully funded by the international community to avert a humanitarian crisis.