Bangkok, Sep 14 (AP/UNB) — Myanmar presidential spokesman says 176 ethnic Rohingya villages are now empty after all residents fled.The crisis in Myanmar erupted on Aug. 25, when an insurgent Rohingya group attacked police outposts in Myanmar’s Rakhine state. Myanmar’s military launched “clearance operations” against the rebels, setting off a wave of violence that have left hundreds dead and thousands of homes burned — mostly Rohingya in both cases.
The government blames Rohingya for the attacks, but journalists who visited the region found evidence that raises doubts about its claims that Rohingya set fire to their own homes.
Many of the Rohingya who flooded into refugee camps in Bangladesh told of Myanmar soldiers shooting indiscriminately, burning their homes and warning them to leave or die. Others said they were attacked by Buddhist mobs.
Another report says from Cox’s Bazar: Nearly three weeks into a crisis that has seen hundreds of thousands of Rohingya flee into Bangladesh, desperation was spreading at refugee camps where aid remains scarce.
The U.N. children’s agency says it needs $7.3 million to help just the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya children now at high risk of contracting water-borne diseases.
Scenes of panic erupted Thursday along roadsides where local volunteers were distributing food, water and other supplies haphazardly from parked vehicles. Local officials shouted through bullhorns for volunteers to coordinate their efforts with aid agencies to avoid spreading chaos.
UNICEF’s country representative Edouard Beigbeder said: “There are acute shortages of everything, most critically shelter, food and clean water.”