Some 582,000 Rohingya refugees have now fled Myanmarfor Bangladesh since late August, the United Nations said on Tuesday, warning that thousands more were still stranded at the border.
The UN said between 10,000 and 15,000 new refugees have arrived at the border in the last 48 hours alone, fleeing violence in Myanmar, where Rohingya villages are being burned to the ground.
It expressed deep concern about newly arrived refugees including children and elderly people dehydrated and hungry from the long journey who are stranded near the border.
One Bangladesh Border Guard (BGB) official told AFP on condition of anonymity that the new arrivals were being held in an area of no man’s land, although it was not immediately clear why.
Spokesman Andrej Mahecic said the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) was advocating with the Bangladesh authorities “to urgently admit these refugees fleeing violence and increasingly difficult conditions back home”.
He said UNHCR staff had spoken with people who described walking for a week to reach the Bangladesh border. Most are still squatting in paddy fields in Bangladesh, and were waiting for permission to move away from the border, he said.
“Every minute counts given the fragile condition they’re arriving in,” said Mahecic