Rohingya Refugee Influx in Bangladesh Hits 582,000, UN Says

Abdur Rahman and Tushar Tohin
2017.10.17
Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh
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A crowd of Rohingya refugees gathers along a dam by the Naf River near Anjuman Para in Ukhia, Bangladesh, Oct. 16, 2017. [Tushar Tohin/BenarNews]

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Rohingya women and children wait to pick up relief supplies at the Nayapara refugee camp in Teknaf, Cox’s Bazar, Oct. 13, 2017. [Abdur Rahman/BenarNews]

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Tents belonging to newly arrived Rohingya refugees dot a hilly patch in the Whaikong forest in Teknaf, Cox’s Bazar, Oct. 15, 2017. [Abdur Rahman/BenarNews]

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Rohingya children play with marbles near a makeshift refugee settlement in Teknaf, Cox’s Bazar, Oct. 12, 2017. [Abdur Rahman/BenarNews]

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Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Zahid Ahmad Hamidi chats with Rohingya children during a visit to Cox’s Bazar, Oct. 16, 2017. [Courtesy of the Malaysian deputy prime minister’s office]

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A health service volunteer explains services for Rohingya refugees to William Lacy Swing, chief of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), during the U.N. official’s visit to the Kutupalong refugee camp in Ukhia, Cox’s Bazar, Oct. 16, 2017. [Tushar Tohin/BenarNews]

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A Rohingya refugee carries his father as they enter Bangladesh at Anjuman Para, near the Myanmar border, Oct. 16. [Tushar Tohin/BenarNews]

About 600,000 Rohingya refugees have fled to southeastern Bangladesh within the past seven weeks while escaping a surge of violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, the United Nations and international relief agencies said Monday in releasing sharply revised estimates.

U.N. officials have called the humanitarian crisis “the world’s fastest-developing refugee emergency” and have described the violence pushing members of Rakhine Muslim minority to seek shelter in neighboring Bangladesh a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing” – criticism that Myanmar’s government has strongly denied.

With the 582,000 new refugee arrivals since Aug. 25, nearly one million Rohingya refugees are now concentrated in the southeast corner of Bangladesh. Almost 60 percent of Rakhine’s Muslim population has crossed into the neighboring country as a result of the violence.

This week, Malaysia’s deputy prime minister and the director general of IOM, the U.N.’s international migration agency, visited southeastern Bangladesh to get a close-up look at the crisis as thousands of more refugees came across the border.

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