UN: Rohingya refugee camps “bursting at the seams”

World Today

Newly arrived Rohingyas mourn by the body of a family member Ali Akbar, 70, in a makeshift tent in Kutupalong, Bangladesh, Friday, Sept. 8, 2017. According to family members, Akbar was shot in the hand and beaten with rifle butts by Myanmar soldiers before the family escaped to Bangladesh. He died today. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

The United Nations on Friday said relief camps for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh were “bursting at the seams” as hundreds of thousands of people fled across the border from Myanmar.

The UN said an “alarming number” of 270,000 Rohingya Muslims have crossed into Bangladesh in the last two weeks.

Iranian worshippers attend a protest rally after the Friday prayers as they hold placards in support of muslim Rohingya in Tehran, Iran, Friday, Sept. 8, 2017. The United Nations says some 146,000 people have fled Myanmar into Bangladesh since violence erupted there Aug. 25. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

Speaking in Geneva UNHCR spokesperson Duniya Aslam Khan said numbers in refugee camps had doubled in just days.

UNICEF spokesperson Marixie Mercado said meanwhile that 80 percent of those fleeing Myanmar were women and children.

The news conference came as US-based rights group Human Rights Watch (HRW) released new satellite images which it says shows the extent of destruction in a predominantly Muslim area in a town at the centre of the violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State.

The pictures show the same section of Maungdaw town – the administrative capital of Maungdaw township – before and after the outbreak of the trouble.

HRW says it’s counted 450 fire-damaged buildings.

Satellite-based heat sensing technology identified active fires there in the late morning and early afternoon of August 28, it says.

Human Rights Watch says the destruction in the mainly Muslim neighbourhoods shows that the violence against the Rohingya minority is not only happening in the remote countryside but in urban centres too.

Story by the Associated Press