Tens of thousands of Rohingya refugees who fled to camps in Bangladesh from Myanmar must be relocated to avoid floods and other dangers from the monsoon, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Thursday.
About 150,000 Rohingya are living in flood-prone areas in the crowded camps of Cox's Bazar and could be exposed to health risks such as cholera during the rainy season, expected to start in June, according to the UN.
"The monsoon is the biggest concern," Guterres told reporters at UN headquarters in New York, adding that the Rohingya were "extremely vulnerable to the monsoon."
Guterres said he had discussed the relocation with Bangladesh's government and stressed that "higher ground is the best place for this kind of relocation."
The government in Dhaka is continuing talks with UN agencies on where to move the Rohingyas, he said. There have been reports that authorities had proposed moving them to a remote island.
Some 700,000 Rohingya have been driven into Bangladesh by a major army crackdown in Myanmar's Rakhine state since August.
Myanmar authorities say the operation is aimed at rooting out extremists.