Myanmar refugee exodus tops 500,000 as more flee
TEKNAF, BANGLADESH » He trekked to Bangladesh as part of an exodus of a half million people from Myanmar, the largest refugee crisis to hit Asia in decades. But after climbing out of a boat on a creek on Friday, Mohamed Rafiq could go no further.
He collapsed onto a muddy spit of land cradling his wife in his lap — a limp figure so exhausted and so hungry she could no longer walk or even raise her wrists.
The couple had no food, no money, no idea what to do next. Their two traumatized children huddled close beside them. A third child, 8 months, was left behind and was killed, he said.
Five weeks after the mass exodus began on Aug. 25, the U.N. says the total number of arrivals in Bangladesh has now topped 501,000. And still, they keep coming. “We don’t ever want to go back,” a stunned Rafiq said, describing his family’s ordeal. They were given cash, food and water.