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Aid agencies in south Asia call for help – Radio New Zealand

Aid agencies in Bangladesh are calling on the international community to up its aid and financial support in south Asia, where 41 million people have been affected by devastating floods and the number of refugees from neighbouring Myanmar climbs.

A Rohingya family sit beside a road in Nykkhongchhari, Bangladesh after fleeing violence in Myanmar.

A Rohingya family sit beside a road in Nykkhongchhari, Bangladesh after fleeing violence in Myanmar.
Photo: AFP

The death toll stands at more than 1300 across Bangladesh, India and Nepal after monsoon rain and floods.

At the border with Myanmar, refugees have been making their way into Bangladesh, where police have ignored orders to prevent people from crossing.

An estimated 58,000 Rohingya – a minority Muslim group in the Buddhist country – have fled and crossed into Bangladesh after violence erupted in the state of Rakhine, where there have been ongoing clashes for decades.

Members of the minority group have been effectively rendered stateless since the 1980s.

Indian commuters walk on railway tracks as train services slowly resume in Mumbai on 30 August, after heavy rains brought major flooding to the coastal city.

Indian commuters walk on railway tracks as train services slowly resume in Mumbai on 30 August, after heavy rains brought major flooding to the coastal city.
Photo: AFP

The worsening refugee crisis coincided with widespread flooding in south Asia, in Bangladesh, India, and Nepal.

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent aid worker Corinne Ambler said Bangladesh was familiar with monsoon rains and flooding but this season was the worst in four years.

From a helicopter she could see the water stretching for miles, with settlements and houses dotted across the landscape.

“It’s not until you’re in the air that you can grasp the full magnitude of the disaster that’s happened,” she said.

Thousands of people have lost their livelihoods as floods have destroyed homes, pastures, crops and livestock.

“This is the season when farmers plant their rice, if they can’t plant their rice they’re going to have no income and no food security. No way to feed their families,” she says.

Bangladesh’s government is distributing food, cash and mobile health units.

The Myanmar authorities have said the security forces responded to an attack on police by militants. Around 20,000 people are thought to be stuck along the Naf river, which marks the border and aid agencies say they are at risk of drowning and disease.

Human Rights Watch released satellite imagery from Myanmar which the group said showed more than 700 homes burned down in one Rohingya village.

Phil Robertson, Human Rights Watch’s deputy Asia director, told the BBC:

“As far as we can tell the destruction took place on the 25th [August] in the morning, and it appears to have been complete and total. Approximately 99 percent of the buildings are destroyed in that village.”

Aid agencies in south Asia call for help – Radio New Zealand}

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