Weary and uncertain, they carried whatever they could on their backs, trudging through monsoon rains and enduring relocations and extortion attempts as they struggle to find small patches of land that can be their own, at least for a moment.
Groups of Rohingya Muslims who fled Myanmar were on the move again Tuesday and Wednesday, forced by the rains to salvage what was left of their shanties and move toward drier ground in hopes of some relief — if the mudslides don’t come next.
Several Rohingya camps in this Bangladesh coastal city are flooded from three days of unrelenting downpours. People in the camps were pelted with heavy rain while desperately packing their meager belongings into plastic sacks and trying to find fresh shelter.
The initial arrivals in the most recent exodus from violence in Myanmar simply settled on whatever patch of land they could find, building shelters of bamboo sticks and plastic sheets.
But as their numbers soared to more than 420,000 in a matter of weeks, the local government has started moving them to newly allocated refugee camp areas. Many refused to move, terrified of being without shelter at all. But the rains washed away many shanties or made them uninhabitable.
So they’re moving again. Most of them are being sent to the new settlement of Balukhali in Cox’s Bazar.
The violence began Aug. 25 when Rohingya insurgents attacked Myanmar police and paramilitary posts, and the military responded with “clearance operations.” Many Rohingya homes were burned and an estimated 270,000 Rohingya fled to neighboring Bangladesh, according to the U.N. (AP)