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Executive Summary for September 5th

We review the latest issues related to refugees, including a continued rise in the number of Rohingya refugees, another NGO ceasing rescue operations in the Mediterranean and rising malnutrition and violence among Lake Chad refugees.

Published on Sep. 5, 2017 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Number of Rohingya Refugees Tops 120,000

At least 123,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state to neighboring Bangladesh in 10 days, according to the U.N. refugee agency.

“The numbers are very worrying. They are going up very quickly,” said UNHCR spokeswoman Vivian Tan. Many Rohingya are having trouble finding shelter because the existing refugee camps in Bangladesh are filled to capacity, she said.

There are reports that 30,000 Rohingya are stranded between Maungdaw and Rathedaung townships in the hilly border region on the Naf River that separates the two countries.

Inside Myanmar, at least 120,000 mostly Rohinhgya internal refugees have seen food aid cut after the U.N. World Food Programme suspended operations in Rakhine state. Most agencies had already evacuated most staff after the government accused aid groups of feeding insurgents, accusations repeated last week.

The latest violence came after militants launched coordinated attacks on police and army posts on August 25, promoting a counteroffensive described by refugees as indiscriminate violence and wholesale destruction of villages.

There have been protests against the violence in several countries, including Indonesia, whose foreign minister Retno Marsudi met with Myanmar’s de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi to urge security forces to “immediately stop all forms of violence” in Rakhine.

Another Migrant Rescue Group Leaves the Mediterranean

The Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) is the latest search and rescue NGO to suspend operations in the Central Mediterranean.

The Malta-based NGO said it was concerned that its ship would be forced to take rescued migrants and refugees back to Libya, where they face deplorable conditions.

“We no longer have a definite knowledge that they will be taken to a safe port, and we don’t want to rescue migrants and then be forced to return them to Libya, giving them a false hope,” MOAS cofounder Regina Catrambone said.

Doctors WIthout Borders, Save the Children and Germany’s Sea Eye have already suspended search-and-rescue operations, leaving only Proactiva Open Arms, Sea Watch and SOS Mediterranee at sea.

As the European-supported Libyan coastguard has taken a greater role in intercepting refugee boats, tensions have risen with NGO rescue missions.

MOAS, which has been operating in the Mediterranean since 2014, said it would shift its efforts to Southeast Asia to help Rohingya Muslims fleeing violence in Myanmar.

Boko Haram Refugees Face Growing Malnourishment, Violent Attacks

Refugees taking shelter from Boko Haram in the Lake Chad region face growing violence and a lack of basic humanitarian supplies due to a shortfall in funding, aid groups have said.

Nearly 800,000 children under the age of 5 are severely malnourished in the region, which includes parts of Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) said.

NRC secretary-general Jan Egeland said 57 percent of the requested aid for the region this year has yet to be delivered.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International said the number of casualties from Boko Haram attacks since April – 380 people – has doubled compared to the previous five months, with many attacks using women and girls as suicide bombers in densely populated areas.

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