Dhaka – An estimated 582,000 Rohingya have crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar army launched ‘ethnic cleansing’ on minority Muslims in the restive Rakhine state, UN agencies said on Tuesday.
The United Nations High Commission for Refugee in a statement said up to 15,000 Rohingya, who crossed the border Sunday into south-eastern Cox’s Bazar district, were still awaiting permission to move to the refugee settlements.
The agency said it was concerned with the humanitarian condition of thousands of new arrivals who are stranded near the Bangladesh-Myanmar border.
Since Sunday night, an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 Rohingya refugees have entered Bangladesh through the Anjuman Para border crossing point in Ukhia district, it added in a statement.
“Many say they had initially chosen to remain in their homes in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state despite repeated threats to leave or be killed. They finally fled when their villages were set on fire,” the UN agency statement reads.
They walked for around a week to reach the Bangladesh border. Some crossed into on Sunday night, others throughout Monday in the heat and rain, it added.
“As of this morning they are still squatting in the paddy fields of Anjuman Para village in Bangladesh. They are waiting for permission to move away from the border, where the sound of gunfire continues to be heard every night from the Myanmar side.”
The UN migration agency, International Organization for Migration, the number of new arrivals identified as 582,000 since 25 August, when the Burmese military launched the crackdown against suspected Muslim insurgents in Rakhine.
It said a group of people up to 15,000 were staying on levies between paddy fields with limited food and water.
Agencies are providing some basic assistance at the location where people are stranded, and are positioned to provide additional assistance including food, medical care, clean water and family tracing services to new arrivals once they are allowed to move on.