Tens of thousands more people have crossed by boat and on foot in to Bangladesh in the last 24 hours as they flee violence in western Myanmar, the UNHCR asserted Saturday.
Both Myanmar’s security authorities and insurgents from the Rohingya ethnic minority are accusing each other of burning down villages and committing atrocities in Myanmar’s Rakhine state. The- military has asserted nearly 400 people, most of them insurgents, have died in armed clashes.
The violence has triggered a flood of refugees crossing mostly on foot in to Bangladesh, though some were fleeing in wooden boats.
“Roughly 60,000 have arrived in Bangladesh since the violence erupted on Aug. 25,” asserted U.N. Refugee Agency spokeswoman Vivian Tan. That’s about 20,000 more than the number local authorities had estimated on Friday.
Refugees who had arrived at the Bangladeshi fishing village of Shah Porir Dwip described bombs exploding and Rohingyas being burned alive.
“We fled to Bangladesh to save our lives,” asserted a guy who only gave his 1st name, Karim. “The military and extremist Rakhine are burning us, burning us, killing us, setting our village on fire.”
He asserted he paid 12,000 Bangladeshi taka, or about $150, for each of his family members to be smuggled on a wooden boat to Bangladesh after soldiers killed 110 Rohingya in their village of Kunnapara, near the coastal town of Maungdaw.
“The military destroyed everything. After killing some Rohingya, the military burned their houses and shops,” he said. “We have a baby who is 8 days only, and an old lady who is 105.
Satellite imagery analyzed by Human Rights Watch shows hundreds of buildings had been destroyed in at least 17 sites across Rakhine state since Aug. 25, in addition to some 700 structures in that appeared to have been burned down in just the village of Chein Khar Li, the international rights watchdog asserted in a acknowledgment Saturday.
Ali Hossain, a deputy commissioner in Cox’s Bazar, asserted Bangladesh was struggling to cope as “the flow of Rohingya refugees is continuing by boat and the land route.”
The Red Cross has sent teams to refugee camps, in coordination with the local Red Crescent Society, to “assess the refugees’ requirements. The- influx is scattered at different places. The- task is challenging for us,” asserted spokeswoman Misada Saif.
“We hope to start supplying water and food soon,” Saif said.
The violence erupted on Aug. 25, when insurgents attacked Myanmar cops and paramilitary posts in what they asserted was an effort to protect minority Rohingya. In response, the military unleashed what it called “clearance operations” to root out the insurgents.
Advocates for the Rohingya, an oppressed Muslim minority in overwhelmingly Buddhist Myanmar, say security forces and vigilantes both have attacked and burned villages, shooting civilians and causing others to flee.
The government blames the insurgents for burning their own homes and killing Buddhists in Rakhine. Longstanding tension between the Rohingya Muslims and Buddhists erupted in bloody rioting in 2012, forcing more than 100,000 Rohingya in to displacement camps, where many still live.
Bangladeshi cops asserted Thursday in that three boats carrying refugees had capsized in the Naf River, killing at least 26, in addition to women and children.
On Saturday, people in the Shah Porir Dwip fishing village gathered to bury the body of one lady found floating near the river bank.
Associated Press writer Ashok Sharma in New Delhi contributed to this report.