COX’S BAZAR, Bangladesh — The U.N. said that an “alarming number” of 270,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled violence in Myanmar by crossing into Bangladesh in the last two weeks.
The new figure confirmed Friday by U.N. refugee agency spokeswoman Vivian Tan is much higher than the 164,000 the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees had previously estimated had arrived since Aug. 25.
“This is an alarming number,” Tan said. “The existing camps are full to the capacity. There is a lot of pressure on relief agencies to accommodate the rising numbers.”
She said the new number was still a “rough estimate,” and based on an assessment that involved a host of aid agencies operating in the area. Some aid groups also had identified “new pockets of people that we did not know about before, mainly in villages” where Bangladeshi communities had taken them in, but also some new settlements and clusters in difficult-to-access areas.
Makeshift camps were quickly appearing and expanding along roadsides, Tan said.
She said it was possible some people who received help from multiple agencies could have been counted twice.
The exodus from Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state began Aug. 25 after Rohingya insurgents attacked police posts. The military responded with what it called “clearance operations” to root out any fighters it said might be hiding in villages of Rakhine state.
I can’t help but wonder if Burma is doing what other states dealing with terrorist insurgencies from Muslim settler colonies will eventually be forced to do.