Since August 25, 480,000 Rohingyas have moved from Burma to Bangladesh to flee the violence in western Burma, according to the latest UN count. Faced with this steady influx, Dacca has decided to allow more NGOs to intervene in the refugee camps.
So far, only four international organizations had the right to work in refugee camps – among them Médecins sans frontières and Action Contre la Faim. But Dacca decided Tuesday to give the go-ahead to 30 national and international organizations to respond to the “emergency needs” of newcomers. Others should follow.
Assistance which will be limited in time, namely two months. In addition, these NGOs will have to concentrate mainly on health care, but also on the construction of sanitary facilities and shelters, a task for which already additional Bangladeshi military personnel had been requisitioned last week.
Dacca never really explained why he had hitherto prevented these NGOs from working. Perhaps it was to better control the entrances and exits of the camps. We know that Bangladesh is very sensitive to security issues, and does not want the Rohingyas to disperse in the country. The army fears that local Islamist militants will use the persecution of this Muslim minority in Burma to recruit new combatants.
To support the 480,000 Rohingyas and the 300,000 who were already in the camps before they arrived, Dacca requested $ 250 million from the World Bank.