Save the Rohingya, top aid agency says

Written by By Staff Writer

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) expressed concern over increasing displacement and medical complications that were reported among Rohingya refugees living on a refugee island in the Bay of Bengal in Bangladesh.

The bulk of the reports centered on an area of Kyaukpyu Island, where panic and resistance by Rohingya have led to dozens of Rohingya deaths, according to local media reports. Many Rohingya camp on the island since March after fleeing the crackdown in Myanmar.

“The situation for the Rohingyas in Bangladesh is becoming increasingly dire,” said IFRC’s Assistant Director for Humanitarian Response George Krol. “With the escalating violence in Rakhine state, and about 14,000 people already in and around Sittwe alone, and conditions on the island getting more chaotic, the world is less able to respond adequately, especially with regard to human rights and health care.”

The IFRC has been supporting the UN Refugee Agency in registering, registering and collecting data on the ongoing displacement in the Cox’s Bazar area of Bangladesh.

‘No water and very few toilets’

Refugees reported that the newly-established facility on the island was in no way suitable for housing over 60,000 people in dire conditions that have no water and very few toilets, according to the IFRC.

“With no safe spaces for shelter, hot water, food, health care and basic services, this is a life or death situation that calls for international attention,” said Krol.

In addition to the new requests for international support, the IFRC was alarmed to note another exodus of refugees over the weekend as the homes of the Rohingya manzanis were forcibly razed on the island.

Thirteen new movements were reported by the IFRC on Sunday, bringing the total displacement to 50,000 people in the region, representing one third of the original arrivals, according to the IFRC.

On May 22, Myanmar confirmed the demolition of 446 homes on the island.

“Restrictions imposed on travel on the island and lack of response from the government are eroding people’s trust in the authorities and the political settlement,” Krol said.

In 2015, the IFRC called for urgent and effective action on Kyaukpyu Island as “the crisis cannot go on and people need help, their health and safety in urgent need of support.”

But Krol said nothing had been done to ensure the safety and security of the island’s inhabitants.

On Monday the UN refugee agency said it was aware of the situation on Kyaukpyu Island and said it was working with the Bangladeshi authorities to provide assistance to people who have fled from Myanmar.

The agency has taken control of areas around the island and dispatched mobile medical teams to the region and was providing support for displaced families in refugee camps.

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