Dhaka, Sep 29: The latest figure released by the United Nations (UN) in terms of the number of Rohingyas escaping violence-hit Myanmar and taking shelter in Bangladesh has gone up to more than 500,000 lakh.
The number of Rohingya refugees who have fled to Bangladesh since violence broke out in Myanmar's Rakhine state on August 25 has exceeded half a million, the UN said on Thursday.
The new figure of 501,800 -- up from around 480,000 -- was due mainly to the counting of refugees not previously included in the tally rather than a dramatic increase in arrivals.
The International Organisation for Migration has estimated that there are more than 800,000 Rohingya currently in Bangladesh, including those who fled Myanmar before the latest crisis.
The nearly half a million Rohingya refugees who have entered Bangladesh since August will likely not be leaving soon, the UN said on Wednesday, calling for longer- term plans to manage the influx.
The head of the UN refugee agency, Filippo Grandi, called the current camp set up "a recipe for disaster", with overcrowding and unhygienic conditions creating a breeding ground for "possible epidemics."
"The important thing is to get people in places where they can be assisted more easily," Grandi told reporters in Geneva.
"It is most likely that return will take time, if it happens, if the violence stops. It will be important also to find in the medium term suitable solutions for the people that are in Bangladesh." "The first challenge is to get people out of the mud and the despair which they are finding themselves in", he added.
Grandi said he was in talks with Dhaka about forming a "technical committee" with the UN to look at options for longer-term Rohingya settlements.
"There are in reality many different options that the Bangladesh government is studying, and understandably they are not easy", he said, noting the strain placed on local communities in the Cox's Bazar area on the Myanmar border.
Aid agencies say that the largely makeshift camps in Cox's Bazar are bursting at the seams, amid struggles to bring in adequate food and shelter. Impoverished Bangladesh has earned praise for its response so far. Rohingyas have been fleeing Rakhine state in northeast Myanmar for decades.
The new exodus began on August 25 when deadly attacks by Rohingya militants on Myanmar police posts prompted a military crackdown. Myanmar's civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi has said the country was ready to verify the refugee status of those who have fled, but has not guaranteed the right of return for all.
Meanwhile, India's latest stand to deport around 40,000 Rohingyas staying in various parts of the country has been heavily criticised by several national and international groups.
In an opinion piece for Hindustan Times, Colin Gonsalves, senior Supreme Court advocate and founder, Human Rights Law Network, said that the law is clear that India can't deport Rohingyas.