Myanmar Crisis

Myanmar Crisis

Violence  in Myanmar's Rakhine State has driven more than 600,000 people (most of whom identify as Rohingya) across the border into Bangladesh, where they have joined more than 300,000 who fled in earlier waves of ethnic violence over the past three decades.

The endless number of refugees fleeing from Myanmar has created impossible conditions for Bangladesh – already one of the world's poorest and most densely populated large country. The civil society and government have nevertheless provided a massive amount of aid.

Rohingya Muslims are considered to be among the world's most persecuted people. The predominantly Buddhist Myanmar considers them Bangladeshi, but Bangladesh says they're Burmese. As a result, they're effectively stateless.

The speed and scale of the influx has resulted in a critical humanitarian emergency.

Bangladesh is now dealing with a humanitarian catastrophe, as more and more refugees arrive on its fields and shores each day.  Three out of four of them are women and children. They will be provided shelter, food and medical assistance at the camp, but they face an uncertain future in conditions ripe for disease and despair.

Doctors Without Borders has called the camps in Bangladesh a “time bomb ticking toward a full-blown health crisis” as sanitation and medical services and distribution of clean water have struggled to keep up with refugee arrivals.

Up until now, they've been living in a range of different refugee camps across southern Bangladesh. However, Bangladesh are planning to build a single, enormous 3000-acre refugee camp at Cox's Bazar to accommodate the huge influx of refugees. A Bangladeshi minister warned his country was struggling to deal with the flood across the border.

China has offered to help defuse the Rohingya crisis. Following meetings with Beijing's top diplomat Bangladesh hopes they will apply pressure on Myanmar take back hundreds of thousands of refugees.

Bangladesh and Myanmar have agreed, in principle, to begin repatriation of the Rohingya but are still tussling over the details.

However, Myanmar's powerful army chief distanced himself from any suggestion of a quick return. The Rohingya, he said, could only return if Buddhist citizens accepted them — a highly unlikely scenario given that the minority is so widely disliked inside Myanmar.


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