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UN refugee agency says 270,000 Rohingya Muslims fled Myanmar in last two weeks

The limited shelter capacity in Bangladesh is already exhausted and the Rohingya refugees from Myanmar are now squatting in makeshift shelters that have mushroomed along the road.

world Updated: Sep 08, 2017 15:09 IST
Reuters, Geneva
UN refugee agency,Rohingya Muslims,Myanmar
Rohingya refugees wait for a boat to cross a canal after crossing the border through the Naf river in Teknaf, Bangladesh, on Thursday.(Reuters)

An estimated 270,000 Rohingya refugees have fled Myanmar in the past two weeks and sought refuge in Bangladesh, where two existing refugee camps are “bursting at the seams”, the UN refugee agency said on Friday.

“The limited shelter capacity is already exhausted. Refugees are now squatting in makeshift shelters that have mushroomed along the road and on available land in the Ukhiya and Teknaf areas,” United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHRC) said in a briefing note for reporters in Geneva.

“The vast majority are women, including mothers with newborn babies, families with children. They arrive in poor condition, exhausted, hungry and desperate for shelter.”

A house burns in Gawdu Tharya village near Maungdaw in Rakhine state in northern Myanmar. (AFP)

The Rohingya have long been subjected to discrimination in mostly Buddhist Myanmar, which denies them citizenship and regards them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, even if they have lived in the country for generations.

In updated figures released by the authorities on Thursday, Myanmar said 6,600 Rohingya homes and 201 non-Muslim homes had been burned to the ground since August 25.

They added some 30 civilians had been killed -- seven Rohingyas, seven Hindus and 16 Rakhine Buddhists -- in the fighting.

First Published: Sep 08, 2017 14:35 IST