Six lakh Rohingya refugees have fled violence in Myanmar since August 25, a United Nations report said on Sunday.
The UN-led Inter-Sector Coordination Group, which is directing the humanitarian effort for Rohinygas in Myanmar, estimated that 6.03 lakh refugees from Rakhine state had crossed the border into Bangladesh. “Cross-border movement of over 14,000 newly arrived refugees has been verified in the past week,” the report said.
Rohingyas have been fleeing Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state since security forces launched an operation in response to attacks allegedly carried out by militants in August. The refugees who arrived in Bangladesh on Sunday described brutal violence in their villages and food shortages.
“We hardly had any food for the past 10-15 days,” one refugee, Yasmin, told AFP at the coastal village of Shah Porir Dwip. “They torched our home. We did not have any choice but to leave.”
The latest descriptions of violence were consistent with a UN Human Rights office statement earlier this month that the brutal attacks were aimed at preventing Rohingyas from returning home. The attacks were “well-organised, coordinated and systematic”, the report said.
Meanwhile, authorities in Bangladesh were on high alert for fishermen ferrying refugees into the country by the open sea as the temporary fishing ban that was in place expired on Sunday. At least 200 refugees, mostly children, have drowned while making the journey in wooden boats that cannot withstand the rough waters near the coast.
On October 19, the United Nations had said it has not yet determined whether the violence against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar was genocide.