UNHCR chief appeals for more aid for 'desperate' Rohingya situation


The chief of the United Nations' refugee agency has called for increased support for the more than 430,000 Rohingya Muslims who are sheltered in Bangladesh after having fled sectarian violence in neighbouring Myanmar.

"Their situation remains desperate and we risk a dramatic deterioration if aid is not rapidly stepped up," Filippo Grandi, the UN's High Commission for Refugees, said in Dhaka on Monday.

Grandi made the comments after his two-day visit to the district of Cox's Bazar in south-east Bangladesh, where refugees have been living in tents or out in the open since their arrival.

According to UN estimates, 436,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Buddhist-majority Myanmar since 25 August, when entire villages were destroyed in Myanmar's Rakhine State as part of a military crackdown.

Grandi said the people he met, including those who had just arrived, were deeply traumatised by the violence they had experienced before leaving for Bangladesh.

"I heard very harrowing stories of loss, of violence that they have suffered directly," he said, adding that many women and children suffered physical and sexual assaults, intimidation and other forms of brutality.

In Bangladesh, they are still exposed to enormous hardship, Grandi said on the final day of his visit. Aid agencies working in the region have been trying to budget resources for the next six months, he said.    (dpa)

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