A total of 87,000 mostly Rohingya refugees have fled to Bangladesh since violence erupted in neighboring Myanmar on August 25, the United Nations said Monday.
The newest estimate, based on calculations by UN workers in the Bangladeshi border district of Cox’s Bazar, takes to nearly 150,000 the total number of Rohingya who have sought refuge in Bangladesh since October.
Thousands of the Muslim minority have fled Myanmar and poured over the border since the latest round of fighting broke out, piling pressure on the already overcrowded camps in Bangladesh.
Around 20,000 more were massed on the border between Bangladesh and Myanmar’s northwestern state of Rakhine and waiting to enter, the UN said in a report.
Dhaka stepped up border controls after the latest round of violence began 10 days ago.
But in recent days Bangladeshi border guards appeared to be allowing the fleeing refugees to enter and the UN said recent arrivals reported there had been no attempt to prevent them from crossing.
Over the last five years Rakhine has been divided along ethnic and religious lines, but the current violence is the worst yet.
Scores of people have drowned attempting to cross the Naf border river, many in makeshift boats.
Most of the new arrivals have crammed into camps near the border, where the UN said local people were helping the relief effort.
Among new arrivals, about 16,000 are school-age children and more than 5,000 are under the age of five who need vaccine coverage, aid workers said over the weekend.
The number of unaccompanied children was high and many were “traumatized and hungry”, they said.
Myanmar’s army chief has said nearly 400 people have died since then, including 370 Rohingya fighters.