UNHCR calls for redoubling of humanitarian efforts in Bangladesh
This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at today's press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
UNHCR is calling for a redoubling of the international humanitarian response in Bangladesh. This is in light of concerns that conditions for an estimated 436,000 Rohingya refugees who have fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar in the last month could still deteriorate.
As part of its contribution to the response led by the Bangladeshi authorities, this morning UNHCR has flown in its fourth humanitarian airlift. The UNHCR-chartered Boeing 777 cargo jet, loaded with 100 metric tonnes of aid, landed in Dhaka at 12.30hrs today. As shelter needs in south-eastern Bangladesh are acute, this flight has been loaded with shelter materials only. Two more aid flights are being scheduled.
Despite every effort by those on the ground, the massive influx of people seeking safety has been outpacing capacities to respond, and the situation for these refugees has still not stabilized. Many of those who have arrived recently are deeply traumatized. Despite having found refuge in Bangladesh, they are still exposed to enormous hardship.
At the request of the Bangladesh authorities, UNHCR and our partners have scaled up protection and life-saving support to the new arrivals in Kutupalong and Nayapara camps, and extended this support to the informal settlements surrounding these camps. UNHCR is also distributing emergency shelter kits, kitchen sets, jerry cans, sleeping mats, solar lamps, and other non-food items.
We continue to identify and support the most vulnerable refugees such as unaccompanied children, women, the elderly and disabled, who are in urgent need of shelter, food, water, and healthcare. In the last week, we and partners distributed hygiene kits to some 1,900 women, while each day an average of 9,900 people received meals through community kitchens, 2,600 received other hot meals, and 4,700 received high energy biscuits.
As the population in the Kutupalong and Nyapara camps have now doubled, so have the needs for clean drinking water. In the last few weeks, we've constructed additional seven deep tube-wells, 13 shallow tube-wells, and 116 latrine chambers in the two camps to help deal with this increase.
During his visit to Bangladesh this past weekend, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi discussed the importance of working towards solutions with Bangladeshi authorities, but emphasized that for now, the immediate focus has to remain on fast, efficient and substantial increase of support to those who are so desperately in need.
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