Rohingya refugees still fleeing from Myanmar to Bangladesh — UNHCR

Rohingya refugee children wait for food to be distributed at Tengkhali camp, near Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh on December 7, 2017. (Reuters)
Updated 07 December 2017
0

Rohingya refugees still fleeing from Myanmar to Bangladesh — UNHCR

DHAKA: Rohingya refugees continue to flee Myanmar for Bangladesh even though both countries set up a timetable last month to allow them to start to return home, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said on Thursday.
The number of refugees appears to have slowed. 625,000 have arrived since Aug. 25. 30,000 came last month and around 1,500 arrived last week, UNHCR said
“The refugee emergency in Bangladesh is the fastest-growing refugee crisis in the world,” said deputy high commissioner Kelly Clements. “Conditions in Myanmar’s Rakhaine state are not in place to enable a safe and sustainable return ... refugees are still fleeing.”
“Most have little or nothing to go back to. Their homes and villages have been destroyed. Deep divisions between communities remain unaddressed and human access is inadequate,” she said.
Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed on Nov. 23 to start the return of Rohingya within two months. It did not say when the process would be complete.
Myanmar’s security forces may be guilty of genocide against the Rohingya Muslim minority, according to the top UN human rights official this week. Mainly Buddhist Myanmar denies the Muslim Rohingya are its citizens and considers them foreigners.
UNHCR would make a fresh appeal to donors for funds after the end of February in next year, Kelly said.


Philippine villages at risk of landslides forcibly evacuated

Updated 52 min 33 sec ago
0

Philippine villages at risk of landslides forcibly evacuated

  • Authorities have limited the number of rescuers and other people inside the stricken villages
  • About 270 government troops and policemen were deployed to prevent residents from returning to high-risk villages

NAGA, Philippines: Philippine troops and police forcibly evacuated residents of five villages vulnerable to landslides after the collapse of a mountainside buried dozens of homes and killed at least 22 people in a central region.
Some residents left on their own, but the bulk of more than 1,200 people in villages adjacent or near the landslide-hit area were forcibly moved by authorities Thursday night, police Chief Superintendent Debold Sinas said Friday.
Survivors heard a thunderous roar, crashing and banging when the mountainside fell onto rural houses and shanties in two villages in Naga city on Thursday morning. Some trapped in the sludge managing to send text messages pleading for help but the messages stopped within a few hours.
Distraught relatives begged for more backhoes to be brought to the mound of earth and debris, where they hoped loved ones could be pulled out alive, but there were far too few machines to dig for the dozens of people missing.
Resident Nimrod Parba said one of his trapped relatives called for help about three hours after the landslide hit, entombing 13 of his kin. “They are still under the rubble, they are still there. They are covered in shallow earth, we need a backhoe,” Parba said.
A man embracing a child in a house was dug out by rescuers using a backhoe Thursday night in a poignant scene witnessed by journalists.
Authorities have limited the number of rescuers and other people inside the stricken villages, fearing heavy rains on the loose and soaked ground could cause new slides. Thursday’s landslide also covered part of a river, prompting officials to order a temporary canal to be dug.
About 270 government troops and policemen were deployed to prevent residents from returning to high-risk villages, Sinas said.
President Rodrigo Duterte is to visit Naga city in Cebu province later Friday as he faces his latest crisis.
The landslide in the central region occurred as parts of the far northern Philippine deal with damage from a typhoon that hit last weekend. At least 95 people were killed and more than 50 are missing, many in the gold-mining town of Itogon in the north where landslides hit houses and a chapel where people had gathered in the storm.
Cebu province was not directly hit by Typhoon Mangkhut but the storm intensified the seasonal monsoon rains that normally fall in tropical Asia.
It’s not clear what set off the landslide, but some residents blamed limestone quarries, which they suspect may have caused cracks in the mountainside facing their villages.
The Philippines is one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries. It is lashed by about 20 tropical storms each year and has active seismic faults where earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur. Poverty forces many people to live in those vulnerable areas, making natural disasters more deadly.