The nearly half a million Rohingyas who have entered Bangladesh since August will likely not be leaving soon, the UN said Wednesday, calling for longer-term plans to manage the influx.
The head of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, called the current camp set up "a recipe for disaster", with overcrowding and unhygenic 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, referring to the estimated 480,000 mostly Muslim Rohingyas who have fled Myanmar violence.
"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.