Half a million displaced in 'critical humanitarian crisis' in Myanmar

A Bangladeshi soldier gestures as a Rohingya refugee child waits to receive his daily meal at a food distribution in Balukhali refugee camp near Gumdhum

The United Nations has condemned the ongoing violence against the Rohingya inside Myanmar, described by Human Rights Chief Zeid Raad al-Huseein as "textbook ethnic cleansing".

The home minister had also said that India would not violate any worldwide law by deporting Rohingyas, as it was not a signatory to the UN Refugees Convention 1951.

Mark Lowcock, head of the UN's humanitarian office, said: "This flow out of Myanmar has not stopped yet, it's into the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya (who are) still in Myanmar, we want to be ready in case there is a further exodus".

"The thousands of potential new refugees are waiting to cross the border from Buthidaung, a township in Myanmar's restive Rakhine state, " he said, citing observers in the area.

Aid agencies are warning of acute shortages of food for the exhausted, hungry and weak refugees arriving in Cox's Bazar, which could soon lead to widespread malnutrition, IOM said.

Access to much of the area has been blocked by Myanmar authorities.

Cholera is a risk, amid fears of disease spreading in the rain-drenched camps where aid workers are trying to install sanitation systems, a spokesman for the World Health Organisation said.

Mr. Lowcock said he believed a "a high-level" United Nations team would be able to visit the area "in the next few days".




Hindus and ethnic Rakhine were also among the dead.

Communities in Chittagong share close cultural, religious and linguistic ties with the Rohingya, and images on social media purportedly showing abuses against the Muslim minority in mainly Buddhist Myanmar have aroused strong sympathy in Bangladesh.

Some 515,000 Rohingya have arrived in Bangladesh from Myanmar's western state of Rakhine in an unrelenting movement of people that began after Myanmar security forces responded to Rohingya militant attacks with a brutal crackdown.

Islamist parties, including Hefazat, have staged several demonstrations over the issue in recent weeks and some firebrand leaders have called on the government to go to war with Myanmar to liberate Rakhine for the persecuted Rohingya.

Lowcock said talks between Myanmar and Bangladesh on a repatriation plan were a useful first step.

The Rohingya are regarded as illegal immigrants in Myanmar and most are stateless.

No formal action was taken by the Security Council during their September meeting, but USA ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley warned the time for words had passed.

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