It’s estimated that 620,000 Rohingya people have fled violence in Burma’s Rakhine State in the last three months. Many say they were doing their morning prayers or cooking food when their villages were attacked and they fled, often with only the clothes they were wearing.
Many of those who have made the long and dangerous journey are women and children, often travelling alone as their husbands had been killed in the recent attacks on Rohingya villages or had been taken away many months or even years before, in earlier crackdowns. Refugees recount travelling through deserted Rohingya villages on their flight to the border, surviving by eating the food left behind by fleeing villagers.
Last week the governments of Bangladesh and Burma signed a deal to return the Rohingya to Rakhine. But many worry that they will face further reprisals if they return, and there was no mention of what would happen to those who refused to go back. For now, they continue to wait patiently.
Dowling met people as they crossed the border to safety, and witnessed the sprawling refugee camps around Cox’s Bazar to see the aid response in action, reports Independent.