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Aid workers see humanitarian crisis as Rohingya flee to Bangladesh


  • Exhausted Rohingya refugees rest on the shore in Shah Porir Dwip, Bangladesh, after crossing by boat through the Bay of Bengal Sept. 10. (CNS photo/Danish Siddiqui, Reuters)
  • Rohingya refugee children are stopped by volunteers as they jostle to receive food distributed by local organizations Sept. 9 in Kutupalong, Bangladesh. (CNS photo/Danish Siddiqui, Reuters)
  • Rohingya refugees wait for boat to cross a canal after crossing the border through the Naf river Sept. 7 in Teknaf, Bangladesh. (CNS photo/Mohammad Ponir Hossain, Reuters)
  • Rohingya refugees walk to a Bangladeshi border guard post in Shah Porir Dwip, Bangladesh, Sept. 10 after crossing by boat through the Bay of Bengal . (CNS photo/Danish Siddiqui, Reuters)
  • Rohingya refugees jostle to receive food distributed by local organizations in Teknaf, Bangladesh, after crossing the Bangladesh-Myanmar border Sept. 7 . (CNS photo/Danish Siddiqui, Reuters)

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COX'S BAZAR, Bangladesh (CNS) -- Bangladesh is bracing for a massive humanitarian crisis because of a lack of food, sanitation, medicines and even basic housing following the exodus of as many as 350,000 Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar, fleeing violence in which at least 1,000 were killed in just two weeks.

The roadside and areas along the major highway from Ukhiya to Teknaf in Cox's Bazar, just across the river from Myanmar's Rakhine state, are swollen with new refugees who have set up makeshift camps with bamboos and polythene sheets to brave monsoon rains, reported ucanews.com. Many are women, children and old people who face an uncertain future without citizenship of any nation or even bare essentials.

Some aid groups and generous local people have sporadically provided relief materials to refugees on the Bangladesh side of the border; in Myanmar, aid has been stopped by the government. Aid trucks arriving at the makeshift camps quickly ran out of food as thousands of hungry people enveloped them when they stopped, ucanews.com reported.

In Chittagong, Bangladesh, James Gomes, regional director of Caritas, the church's charitable agency, expressed concern over the Rohingya crisis.

"The situation is so pathetic -- people living under an open sky, without food, clothes and medicines, getting wet in the rain," Gomes told ucanews.com in mid-September. He predicted an epidemic due to unhealthy conditions if people did not get help soon.

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