It has taken less than two months for the Ronhingya crisis to become what United Nations officials claim is the "world's fastest-growing refugee crisis."
Approximately 582,000 Rohingya have fled into Bangladesh from Myanmar in effort to escape the ongoing government persecution in their native Rakhine state. A huge swath of Rohingya sought refuge in southern Bangladesh earlier this week. The massive exodus, which the U.N. believes included 10,000 to 15,000 people, was captured on video by a U.N. drone.
The video shows the thousands of refugees wading through rice paddies near Anjuman Para village in southeast Bangladesh, not far from the border with Myanmar. Nearly all the victims were traveling on foot, carrying what few belonging they could on their backs. This particular group attempted to stay in Rakhine as long as they could, according to the U.N., but they were forced to leave after their villages were set ablaze.
The Rohingya are a Muslim minority located predominantly in Rakhine, a coastal state in western Myanmar. Myanmar, also known as Burma, is predominantly Buddhist. The Rohingya are not considered Myanmar citizens, and though neighboring Bangladesh is predominantly Muslim, it has rejected the Rohingya in the past, claiming they are Burmese.
Myanmar has claimed that its forces are clearing out terrorists in Rakine. The military has cracked down on the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, also known as Arsa, for months, but the most recent persecution started on Aug. 25. Arsa has engaged in several attacks against the military and police, but the response has been characterized as wildly disproportionate. Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, has been the target of significant criticism for her perceived inaction in the face of the crisis.
The refugees are currently in limbo, awaiting the Bangladeshi government's decision on what to do with the massive group, though the government is working with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to expand its current facilities near Kutupalong. Meanwhile, aid organizations are providing food and water, though they warn that the current conditions put the Rohingya in a dangerous situation.