73,000 Rohingya Muslims Flee Myanmar as Violent Attacks Claim 400 Lives, 2600 Homes

Published 06 September 2017  |  
Myanmar's Rohingya Muslim minority use a local boat to cross a stream after crossing over to the Bangladesh side of the border near Cox's Bazar's Dakhinpara area, Sept. 2, 2017.

More than 73,000 Rohingya Muslims have crossed into Bangladesh after the deadliest violence killed nearly 400 people and burned over 2600 homes in Myanmar's northwest last week, U.N. refugee agency reported on Sept. 2.

"Hundreds of people displaced by the violence are still crossing into Bangladesh. An estimated 73,000 people have entered into Bangladesh as of Sunday morning," said Joseph Tripura, spokesman for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Dhaka, according to Daily Sabah Asia Pacific.

Myanmar officials blamed the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) for the deaths of nearly 400 people and burning of homes on Aug. 25. The attacks forced thousands of minority Muslims to cross to neighboring Bangladesh for safety. While escaping through a river using wooden boats, dozens of people have lost their lives.

Many others have been stuck in the border of Bangladesh and Myanmar awaiting shelter, food and security.

The new arrivals in Bangladesh set up basic tents or squeezed into available shelters or homes of locals along with their belongings.

Tripura said local volunteers were struggling to reach the displaced people with emergency team.

"Many of (the Rohingya refugees) were provided with temporary shelters at school buildings and community centers," he said.

As migrant inflow is continuing unabated, aid workers there struggle to cope.

"The existing camps are near full capacity and numbers are swelling fast. In the coming days there needs to be more space," Vivian Tan, another UNHCR spokeswoman.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has called on Bangladesh to welcome Rohingya Muslims escaping the unrest in Myanmar.

The Rohingya are often known as "the world's most persecuted minority". They ethnic Muslim group lived in the majority Buddhist Myanmar for centuries, yet they are denied citizenship in Myanmar and considered as illegal immigrants.

Currently, there are about 1.1 million Rohingya Muslims who live in the Southeast Asian country.


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