Myan­mar refugee ex­o­dus tops 500,000 as more flee

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - WEATHER -

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.

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