DHAKA: The number of Rohingya refugees crossing from Myanmar into Bangladesh has surged, the UN says, with more than 35,000 new arrivals identified in the last 24 hours.
More than 123,000 Rohingya are now said to have fled violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state since 25 August. The conflict was triggered by an attack by Rohingya militants on police posts.
This sparked a military counter-offensive that has forced a flood of Rohingya civilians from their villages.
The Rohingya are a stateless Muslim ethnic minority who have faced persecution in Myanmar. Many of those who have fled describe troops and Rakhine Buddhist mobs burning their villages and attacking civilians in a campaign to drive them out.
The military says it is fighting against Rohingya militants who are attacking civilians.
On Monday, a senior UN human rights official said it was time for Myanmar’s de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, to step in to halt the violence, as regional concern for the Rohingya refugees mounted.
The UN says it is not clear exactly when the latest refugees entered Bangladesh, but said the number of new arrivals needing food and shelter had surged dramatically.
Two main UN camps for them are now full, so people are sleeping outside or building shelters on open ground and along roads, a spokeswoman said.