Over half million Rohingya fled Myanmar, 2000 per day, says UN


The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) did not say what action it would take after the ceasefire ends at midnight on Monday, but it was "determined to stop the tyranny and oppression" waged against the Rohingya people.

Dhaka: Bangladesh prime minister Sheikh Hasina has said her government was very cautious and did not respond to any provocations by Myanmar, thereby defusing tensions between the two neighbours in the wake of a mass exodus of Rohingyas from Rakhine State.

The poorly-armed Arsa tipped northern Rakhine into crisis when it ambushed police posts on August 25.

But UNICEF chief Anthony Lake and UN emergency relief coordinator Mark Lowcock said in an appeal for $430 million to provide aid that "the needs (of the Rohingya) are growing at a faster pace than our ability to meet them". This week Bangladesh reported 4,000-5,000 Rohingya were crossing the border daily after a brief lull in arrivals, with 10,000 more waiting at the frontier.

"The situation is very bad", said Kazi Abdur Rahman, a senior official in the Bangladesh border district of Cox's Bazar, where most of the Rohingya are settled.

"They pretended like they wanted a war", she said.

Accusing "ARSA extremist terrorist" Einu, the statement said he had been "urging people to run" from Rohingya villages to Bangladesh. The United Nations termed the violence as ethnic cleansing. An equal number had previously fled Myanmar since 1978.

The civilians who crossed the border said that the Burmese army brutalized the Muslims.

Robert Watkins, the United Nations resident coordinator in Dhaka, said on Saturday that housing more than 800,000 refugees in a single camp, as planned by Bangladesh for refugees fleeing violence from neighboring Myanmar, would heighten the risk of deadly diseases spreading quickly.

Bangladesh had then said it would call the worldwide community for a verification process supervised by the UN.

Myanmar rejects that. It says more than 500 people have been killed in the fighting, majority "terrorists" who have been attacking civilians and torching villages.

Hasina said the government was pursuing a plan to build temporary shelters for the Rohingya on an island with the help of worldwide aid agencies whom she praised for their support.

According to the IOM, the proposed camp will be the world's largest, dwarfing Bidi Bidi in Uganda and Dadaab in Kenya, which both house around 300,000 refugees.