Since late August, over half a million Rohingya have fled into Bangladesh after having been persecuted and pushed out of their homes by the Myanmar government. Living in makeshift refugee camps inside Bangladesh along the border, the hundreds of thousands of refugees struggle to survive without enough food or clean water.
According to the UN Refugee Agency, more than 582,000 Rohingya, members of a Muslim community from Myanmar, fled to neighboring Bangladesh since the start of their persecution by the Myanmar government on August 25.
“No pictures, no videos, no writings can explain what is happening over there. It is beyond explanation,” said Al Jazeera journalist Showkat Shafi, who is traveling with the refugees to report on the developing crisis.
Myanmar began persecuting the Rohingya in late August Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News
The refugees who have successfully reached Bangladeshi refugee camps reported horrific stories of violence. Mass killings, gang rape and the razing of villages are only part of what they claim the Myanmar Army, which has killed more than 400 men, women and children from the community, has done. According to Rohingya, the army kicked out hundreds of thousands from their homes and destroyed their villages.
Half a million have fled Myanmar into Bangladesh Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News
In the improvised and informal camps, where half of the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh live, additional risks await them: there is a severe shortage of food and drinking water due to overcrowding and poor sanitary conditions. Infectious diseases have become rampant and not all survive.
Lack of food and clean water spreads disease in refugee camps Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News
The Bangladeshi government says it is doing what it can for the refugees, according to a statement issued following the UN’s request. Furthermore, the government reported that the refugees are indeed receiving assistance and that the necessary task of registration and supervision of the borders is causing a heavy burden at the border crossings.