Dhaka – The United Nations migration agency has made an appeal to the international community to provide more support for the Rohingya Muslims fleeing homes in their thousands after the fresh violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State.
International Migration Agency in a statement on Wednesday also called all the parties in Myanmar to exercise restraint in the aftermath of the Friday’s violence that killed nearly 100 people.
The call was made by William Swing, director general of the organization, which estimated that 18,500 people has crossed into Bangladesh from Myanmar since latest outbreak of violence on 25 August.
Thousands more are still trapped in the no-man’s land between the two countries, it added.
The organization coordinates humanitarian assistance to some 200,000 undocumented Myanmar Nationals living in makeshift settlements in southeastern Bangladeshi district of Cox’s Bazar bordering Myanmar.
Swing also condemned the coordinated attacks against Myanmar’s security forces, but called for a proportionate response on the part of the Myanmar authorities that recognizes the need to protect vulnerable civilians.
Most of the civilians crossing the border are women, children and the elderly, he noted calling Bangladesh to continue to admit desperate people fleeing the violence.
Bangladesh has been hosting an estimated 400,000 Undocumented Myanmar Nationals.
IOM has been working with the local authorities, UN, NGO and other partners to coordinate humanitarian assistance including deliveries of food, water and medical support in Cox’s Bazar.
He also appealed to Bangladesh to either admit people caught on the border or facilitate better access to enable humanitarian aid to reach them.
At the same time he called the Myanmar authorities in Rakhine State to facilitate the work of humanitarian agencies and provide access to vulnerable people in need of assistance to stabilize the situation and reduce the number of people trying to flee the country.
Limited resources mean that IOM and its humanitarian partners in Cox’s Bazar are now struggling to cope with the influx of new arrivals.
IOM is committed to supporting both Myanmar and Bangladesh in addressing the humanitarian needs of people affected by this emerging humanitarian crisis on both sides of the border.
“But in order to achieve this, more support will be needed from the international community,” Swing added.