United Nations starts cholera vaccinations in Bangladesh among Rohingya

Bangladeshi people react as they look at the bodies of Rohingya Muslim refugees in Shah Porir Dwip Island

In the southern parts of Bangladesh they have joined hundreds of thousands of Rohingya who were already living in miserable conditions in tightly packed camps.

Early September, 46 bodies were recovered after a boat sank between Myanmar and Bangladesh.

Almost 520,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar for Bangladesh since August 25, the day since crisis erupted after Rohingya militants raided Myanmar police posts, leading to a brutal military backlash.

The government offensive in the north of Rakhine State has sent some 520,000 Rohingya civilians fleeing to Bangladesh and has drawn worldwide condemnation and United Nations accusations of ethnic cleansing.

A senior Bangladeshi minister said yesterday that the government would allow more Rohingya to cross the border.

Amid mounting worldwide pressure, Myanmar's de-facto leader Aung Sun Suu Kyi addressed the parliament on Sep 19, when she said they were ready to take back "verified refugees" in line with a deal signed in 1992.

Vasquez of Austin, Texas, said in written testimony to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Oct. 5 that the situation affecting the largely Muslim Rohingya population in Myanmar deserve "safe, humane and voluntary durable solutions" as they struggle amid violence that has caused them to flee their homeland.

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"We feel deeply sorry for the reaction from global countries based on news without truth".

The influx has also put Bangladesh under vast strain, with the South Asian country already hosting at least 300,000 Rohingya refugees in squalid camps along its border with Myanmar before the latest surge in arrivals. "We have to cross quickly but we don't have the money to pay for the boat", one Rohingya father of four told an AFP reporter in Rakhine state.

He said building temporary facilities that may last only a month was more important than constructing permanent structures, as the current settlements themselves are not permanent.

More than a quarter million Rohingyas left Burma and will confront a wide range of human rights violations, such as forced labour, extortion, and harassment.

The Rohingya still in Burma now face extortion by the military to buy the livestock stolen from the Rohiinya who have fled.

While a vaccine can provide life-saving protection against cholera, the World Health Organization says it does not replace other traditional control measures.

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