Numbers of the Day: 18500 people

Numbers of the Day: 18500 people

As many as 18,500 Rohingya Muslims have fled their homes in Myanmar's Rakhine state since Friday, according to the International Organization for Migration.

"I am saddened to receive reports that, while the authorities are helping Rakhine and other communities living in affected townships evacuate to safer locations, this assistance is not being extended to the Rohingya Muslims", she said.

The influx was triggered by a dramatic escalation in violence between the security forces and the insurgents.

Myanmar authorities say Rohingya "extremist terrorists" have been setting the fires during fighting with government troops, while Rohingya have blamed soldiers who have been accused of carrying out extrajudicial killings.

Many have been starving at their makeshift shelters built of bamboo and polyethylene sheets ever since they arrived there after the Friday's attack that left almost 100 people, including 12 security persons, killed.

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha told reporters Thailand is preparing to receive refugees and "send them back when they are ready".

Dr Mohammad Shahidul Islam, who is treating them, said they are giving the treatment for free.

Muslim-majority Malaysia is home to almost 60,000 refugees and asylum-seekers of the Rohingya minority, who suffer persecution in mostly Buddhist Myanmar.

He said they recovered four bodies and "most probably" many others were missing.

Bangladeshi border guards have recovered bodies of 20 women and children on Thursday, 31 August, after a boat capsized in the border region.

Tens of thousands of Rohingya Muslims are now reported to be fleeing towards Bangladesh. Police have not been able to confirm the cause of death, he said.

"What we're hearing is burning, burning, burning", she said.

"As of last night, 18,500 people have come across", Chris Lom, the IOM's Asia-Pacific spokesman said, adding an unknown number were still stuck on the Myanmar side of the border.

Displaced Rohingya reaching Bangladesh have told AFP some men are heeding a call to arms by the militants and staying behind to fight in their villages.

But Bangladeshi border guards have been turning refugees back.

With the violence going on in the Rakhine state against the Rohingyas, a group of NGOs and protesters had gathered at the embassy as early as 8am to hand over a memorandum to their representatives.

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