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.