More than 100 Rohingyas are known to have drowned in shipwrecks and boat incidents since the start of the Rohingya crisis on August 25, says the UNHCR.
Over the past 10 days UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has received reports of some 30 improvised rafts arriving from Myanmar, carrying more than a thousand people.
"Recent arrivals told us they had been waiting for more than a month in desperate conditions on Myanmar’ shores. Food and water are said to be running low," said UNHCR spokesperson William Spindler at a press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva on Friday.
Unable to pay for the crossing, Rohingyas are building rafts from whatever material they can get their hands on – mostly bamboo poles and empty jerry cans tied together with rope and covered with plastic sheets.
Using paddles made of bamboo and plastic debris some of these rafts made it to Shahporir Dwip in Bangladesh, a journey of about four hours.
The Naf river estuary between the two countries is about three kilometres wide at this point.
An estimated 620,000 Rohingya refugees have fled to Bangladesh since 25 August.
The Kutupalong Extension site alone, which was set up soon after the influx began, is now highly congested sheltering some 335,000 new arrivals – more than half of the influx so far.
Currently 13 out of 20 blocks in the Kutupalong Extension area are more densely populated than parts of Dhaka.
An area known as Block CC shelters more than 95,000 people per square kilometre (according to UN Habitat data Dhaka’s population density is 44,500 people per square kilometre).
Despite concerted efforts to deliver more aid and services, the overcrowding and difficult living conditions in the camps and makeshift sites increase health, sanitation and fire risks as well as violence and trafficking.
There is an urgent need for additional land and more space for shelters and infrastructure to provide life-saving services and aid including water points, latrines, bathing areas, distribution points, child safe and friendly spaces, safe spaces for women and girls, community centres, etc, said the Spokesperson.
So far, UNHCR has delivered hundreds of thousands of aid items including tents, plastic sheeting, blankets, sleeping mats, mosquito nets, kitchen sets, buckets and jerry cans.