Against the Rohingya in Burma, hunger as a weapon of war

The river speads out in front of them, impassable: the Odyssey to Bangladesh stopped on the beach for thousands of Rohingyas who cannot cross for lack of money, or back off because they have nothing to eat

The river spreads out in front of them, impassable: the Odyssey to Bangladesh stopped on the beach for thousands of Rohingyas who cannot cross for lack of money, or back off because they have nothing to eat. They have been waiting for some for a week, for others already two, facing the mouth of the river Naf, natural border between Burma and Bangladesh. “We want to go to Bangladesh. If we stay, we will die of hunger. But we have no money”to pay the smugglers, says a rohingya woman encountered by AFP during a rare visit in this conflict area cordoned off by the army, organized by the Government for a few ambassadors in the region and media

More than half a million Rohingya (out of a total of a million living in Burma) have managed to take refuge since late August in Bangladesh to escape what the United Nations described as ethnic cleansing. According to the High Commissioner for refugees of the United Nations, nearly one out of five arriving in Bangladesh refugees is in a State of “severe malnutrition”. And despite the promises of the Burmese Government, international humanitarian aid, which depend much on the Rohingyas of Burma, is reduced to the bare. On the beach of black sand of Gaw of Thar are the poorest of them expect a miracle to happen, his eyes fixed towards the banks of Bangladesh, at a few kilometres across the estuary. The makeshift camp has a majority of children, including several babies, their mothers trying to protect as they can, using umbrellas, from the blazing sun

The villages around are reduced to heaps of ash, where we meet more stray dogs. Sometimes there are walls of a mosque. In the Maungdaw district, in the heart of the area of conflict between rebels Rohingya and Burmese army, dozens of villages have been reduced to smoke. And dozens of others are abandoned. Chairs overturned, abandoned pans testify to the leak in the precipitation of the inhabitants

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