Vital UNHCR aid arrives in Cox's Bazar, additional emergency staff deployed
This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at today's press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
In Bangladesh, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is increasingly concerned over the situation for an estimated 380,000 Rohingya refugees reported to have arrived in the country since 25 August. Violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State over the past three weeks has made this one of the fastest growing refugee crises of recent years, creating enormous humanitarian needs in an area of Bangladesh already affected by earlier refugee influxes, recent floods and not equipped to cope with large number of new arrivals.
A visit to the area this week by a UNHCR team, led by our Assistant High Commissioner for Operations, George Okoth-Obbo, found people suffering real hardship and some of the most difficult conditions seen in any current refugee situation. Refugees continue to arrive daily, however outside of the two established camps – already substantially overflowing – many people have received little meaningful help to date.
In response to the unfolding crisis, over the past three weeks UNHCR has emptied its warehouses in Bangladesh to assist the newly arrived stateless Rohingya refugees. Deliveries of more UNHCR aid - flown in earlier this week – are currently underway. The first 15 of 35 scheduled trucks have arrived in Cox’s Bazar today and aid is being delivered to Kutupalong and Nayapara camps and other sites in south-eastern Bangladesh.
Priority in distribution is given to shelter materials and basic aid items as thousands of new arrivals are struggling to find even rudimentary protection from the elements. Many Rohingya refugee families are sleeping rough on roadsides and riverbanks. We are also witnessing remarkable generosity of Bangladeshi communities in Teknaf and elsewhere who have been welcoming refugees into their homes and sharing resources with them.
UNHCR continues to deploy additional emergency staff.
Based on the numbers of arrivals and needs assessments made by field staff, UNHCR urgently requires additional funds to meet the immediate needs of new arrivals and to provide protection and life-saving assistance. With the influx increasing daily, UNHCR is appealing for an initial amount of USD30 million for the emergency humanitarian response in Bangladesh till the end of year.
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