By Mutasim Billah
A planeload of UN aid supplies for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh fleeing violence in Myanmar is headed to refugee camps in the country’s southeast, said a spokesman for the UN refugee agency on Tuesday.
“Ninety-one metric tons of aid, including much-needed shelter materials, jerrycans, blankets, sleeping mats and 1,700 family tents” are headed to the refugees at Cox’s Bazar, Joseph Tripura, Bangladesh spokesperson for the UNHCR, told Anadolu Agency.
He said the supply materials came to the capital Dhaka via two different flights, one from the UNHCR’s global stockpile in Dubai and the second donated by the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
“The two emergency flights are meant to meet the immediate aid needs of some 25,000 refugees. Further flights are being planned, ultimately delivering emergency aid for some 120,000 refugees in total,” he added.
Rohingya Muslim refugees continue to arrive at the Kutupalong and Nayapara camps where the UNHCR operates. With more than 70,000 refugees now in both camps, the population has more than doubled since Aug. 25.
“Both sites are beyond saturation point. Some refugees who have been living in these camps are hosting up to 15 newly arrived families in their small huts, yet new arrivals are still spilling onto the walkways under plastic sheets.
We have opened up public buildings and set up large tents to accommodate the new arrivals,” said Tripura.
Since Aug. 25, more than 370,000 Rohingya have crossed from Myanmar's western state of Rakhine into Bangladesh, according to the UN.
The refugees are fleeing a fresh security operation in which security forces and Buddhist mobs have killed men, women and children, looted homes and torched Rohingya villages.
According to Bangladesh, around 3,000 Rohingya have been killed in the crackdown.
Turkey has been at the forefront of providing aid to Rohingya refugees and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he will raise the issue at the UN.
The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.