Rohingya Crisis

The crisis that began as a counterattack by the Myanmar government against Rohingya militants who had attacked several police bases on August 25, 2017, turned into a full scale "ethnic cleansing," according to the UNHCR, as the army and Buddhist mobs firebombed, raped and murdered across Rakhine state, the predominantly Muslim western region of Myanmar. Myanmar, also known as Burma, has a majority Buddhist population, and the Rohingya are a Muslim minority who are considered illegal immigrants from Bangladesh--they have no right to vote, and are restricted in access to education, healthcare, travel, work and marriage. Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, has been criticized for failing to contain the violence.

To date, over 600,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh in this latest spate of violence; 20,000 alone crossed the borders on October 16, while another 100,000 are said to be waiting on the border of Myanmar.

 

Myanmar's Rohingya refugee children are traumatized by the violence they've witnessed from the Myanmar army, they wait to board boats in Chalpuridip, Bangladesh, to continue their journey to refugee camps further in the country on Oct. 3, 2017.

Myanmar's Rohingya refugee children are traumatized by the violence they've witnessed from the Myanmar army, they wait to board boats in Chalpuridip, Bangladesh, to continue their journey to refugee camps further in the country on Oct. 3, 2017.

© 2017 Cheryl Diaz Meyer. All Rights Reserved.

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Hungry, tired and dehydrated, a Rohingya refugee carries his unconscious wife to a nearby auto rickshaw as they flee to Bangladesh, in Teknaf Upazila, on Oct. 4, 2017. Many refugees spoke of drinking salt water for several days to survive and fights erupting as they waited for boats to ferry them from Myanmar to Bangladesh.

Hungry, tired and dehydrated, a Rohingya refugee carries his unconscious wife to a nearby auto rickshaw as they flee to Bangladesh, in Teknaf Upazila, on Oct. 4, 2017. Many refugees spoke of drinking salt water for several days to survive and fights erupting as they waited for boats to ferry them from Myanmar to Bangladesh.

© 2017 Cheryl Diaz Meyer. All Rights Reserved.

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Once lush hills have been stripped of greenery as hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees who recently arrived in Bangladesh build shelters of plastic, tarpaulin and bamboo in Kutupalong Refugee Camp in Ukhia District, Oct. 11, 2017. As of September, the camp has over 10,000 shelters on 1.5 square miles, and is growing daily.

Once lush hills have been stripped of greenery as hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees who recently arrived in Bangladesh build shelters of plastic, tarpaulin and bamboo in Kutupalong Refugee Camp in Ukhia District, Oct. 11, 2017. As of September, the camp has over 10,000 shelters on 1.5 square miles, and is growing daily.

© 2017 Cheryl Diaz Meyer. All Rights Reserved.

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Orphan Mohammadshakir Mohammadkaisar, 10, is comforted by his aunt Yasmin Nurulhaq while cousin Zeshmintara Nurulhaq, 4, watches, after the boy was hit in the face during an altercation in Zadimora village near the Myanmar border in Bangladesh, Oct. 10, 2017. Tensions among refugees escalate as the stress of hunger, poverty and the ongoing violence in their home country flares. The unregistered refugee camp is growing with plastic, tarpaulin and bamboo shelters built by newly-arrived Rohingya refugees. Water and sanitation is severely lacking in unregistered camps where NGOs are unable to support them, raising the risk for water-born disease, dysentery and cholera.

Orphan Mohammadshakir Mohammadkaisar, 10, is comforted by his aunt Yasmin Nurulhaq while cousin Zeshmintara Nurulhaq, 4, watches, after the boy was hit in the face during an altercation in Zadimora village near the Myanmar border in Bangladesh, Oct. 10, 2017. Tensions among refugees escalate as the stress of hunger, poverty and the ongoing violence in their home country flares. The unregistered refugee camp is growing with plastic, tarpaulin and bamboo shelters built by newly-arrived Rohingya refugees. Water and sanitation is severely lacking in unregistered camps where NGOs are unable to support them, raising the risk for water-born disease, dysentery and cholera.

© 2017 Cheryl Diaz Meyer. All Rights Reserved.

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After escaping into Bangladesh, Rohingya refugee Dolohussam Amirkhamza, 60, is carried by his brother Rahamatullah Amirkhamza, left, and neighbor Rahim Mohammedhussein, right, as they journey from the southernmost tip of Bangladesh inland to refugee camps, in Teknaf Upazila, on Oct. 4, 2017.

After escaping into Bangladesh, Rohingya refugee Dolohussam Amirkhamza, 60, is carried by his brother Rahamatullah Amirkhamza, left, and neighbor Rahim Mohammedhussein, right, as they journey from the southernmost tip of Bangladesh inland to refugee camps, in Teknaf Upazila, on Oct. 4, 2017.

© 2017 Cheryl Diaz Meyer. All Rights Reserved.

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Rohingya refugee Bibijan Nurulamin, 25, holds her 7-day-old daughter in the unregistered camp of Musoni Noyapara near the Myanmar border in Bangladesh, Oct. 9, 2017. She was eight months pregnant with her fifth child when she walked for three days to reach Bangladesh with the help of her husband and 10 other family members. They share a plastic and bamboo shelter on a property donated by a Bangladeshi family, that they built for $75. The camp has no water source except for a hose that another neighbor turns on twice a day so the refugees can fill one jug. She and her family drink brown muddy water while popping pills for diarrhea, and lay listless in the heat of monsoon season. Bibijan, like her parents and many Rohingya, is illiterate. Her husband was a fisherman in Myanmar, but today they spend their days lining up for food rations at the World Food Program distribution center. "We must do what we must do," said Bibijan. "Even if we have to beg to survive."

Rohingya refugee Bibijan Nurulamin, 25, holds her 7-day-old daughter in the unregistered camp of Musoni Noyapara near the Myanmar border in Bangladesh, Oct. 9, 2017. She was eight months pregnant with her fifth child when she walked for three days to reach Bangladesh with the help of her husband and 10 other family members. They share a plastic and bamboo shelter on a property donated by a Bangladeshi family, that they built for $75. The camp has no water source except for a hose that another neighbor turns on twice a day so the refugees can fill one jug. She and her family drink brown muddy water while popping pills for diarrhea, and lay listless in the heat of monsoon season. Bibijan, like her parents and many Rohingya, is illiterate. Her husband was a fisherman in Myanmar, but today they spend their days lining up for food rations at the World Food Program distribution center. "We must do what we must do," said Bibijan. "Even if we have to beg to survive."

© 2017 Cheryl Diaz Meyer. All Rights Reserved.

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Myanmar's Rohingya refugee Anwara Nurhassan, right, takes a boat from Chalpuridip, Bangladesh, as she continues her journey to refugee camps further in the country on Oct. 3, 2017. 

Myanmar's Rohingya refugee Anwara Nurhassan, right, takes a boat from Chalpuridip, Bangladesh, as she continues her journey to refugee camps further in the country on Oct. 3, 2017. 

© 2017 Cheryl Diaz Meyer. All Rights Reserved.

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Myanmar's Rohingya refugee Abduljabar Abdulmajid, 78, far left, escapes Myanmar and journeys further on to refugee camps in Bangladesh, on Oct. 4, 2017. "They were shooting the nearby village so my five sons escaped, and I was left behind and was afraid," said Abduljabar. "Finally, they returned for me and we walked 5 kilometers to the border. I was separated from my sons at the boats so I am looking for them."

Myanmar's Rohingya refugee Abduljabar Abdulmajid, 78, far left, escapes Myanmar and journeys further on to refugee camps in Bangladesh, on Oct. 4, 2017. "They were shooting the nearby village so my five sons escaped, and I was left behind and was afraid," said Abduljabar. "Finally, they returned for me and we walked 5 kilometers to the border. I was separated from my sons at the boats so I am looking for them."

© 2017 Cheryl Diaz Meyer. All Rights Reserved.

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Myanmar's Rohingya refugee Halimakhatoum Ayoub holds up her son Mohammad Ayoub who fell unconscious as they made their way from the village of Sikdarpara Maungdaw in Myanmar to Chalpuridip and onwards to refugee camps in Bangladesh on Oct. 3, 2017.

Myanmar's Rohingya refugee Halimakhatoum Ayoub holds up her son Mohammad Ayoub who fell unconscious as they made their way from the village of Sikdarpara Maungdaw in Myanmar to Chalpuridip and onwards to refugee camps in Bangladesh on Oct. 3, 2017.

© 2017 Cheryl Diaz Meyer. All Rights Reserved.

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Hundreds of newly arrived Rohingya refugees wait for aid just outside the Noyapara refugee camp in Bangladesh on Oct. 6, 2017. 

Hundreds of newly arrived Rohingya refugees wait for aid just outside the Noyapara refugee camp in Bangladesh on Oct. 6, 2017. 

© 2017 Cheryl Diaz Meyer. All Rights Reserved.

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Twins Unasbibi and Joynobbibi Amirkhamza, both 7, left and right, lost their father on September 1, to violence that erupted in Myanmar's Rakhine state, the predominantly Muslim region in a majority Buddhist country. Joynobbibi paints lime powder on her face to beautify. According to their grandfather, Amirkhamza Zalaluddin, village chairman of Sainda Para Moungdaw, the whole village of over 3,000 people is now in Bangladesh. Once lush hills have been stripped of greenery as hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees who recently arrived in Bangladesh build shelters of plastic, tarpaulin and bamboo in Kutupalong Refugee Camp in Ukhia District, Oct. 11, 2017. September statistics show the camp has over 10,000 shelters on 1.5 square miles, and is growing daily.

Twins Unasbibi and Joynobbibi Amirkhamza, both 7, left and right, lost their father on September 1, to violence that erupted in Myanmar's Rakhine state, the predominantly Muslim region in a majority Buddhist country. Joynobbibi paints lime powder on her face to beautify. According to their grandfather, Amirkhamza Zalaluddin, village chairman of Sainda Para Moungdaw, the whole village of over 3,000 people is now in Bangladesh. Once lush hills have been stripped of greenery as hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees who recently arrived in Bangladesh build shelters of plastic, tarpaulin and bamboo in Kutupalong Refugee Camp in Ukhia District, Oct. 11, 2017. September statistics show the camp has over 10,000 shelters on 1.5 square miles, and is growing daily.

© 2017 Cheryl Diaz Meyer. All Rights Reserved.

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Rohingya refugee Morean Katu nurses her six-month-old daughter Tokhia Katu while waiting with daughter Sherfara Katu, age 11, at an army post in Teknaf Upazila, after escaping from Myanmar into Bangladesh on Oct. 2, 2017. She and over 1000 refugees eventually loaded onto trucks with provisions provided by non-governmental organizations as they made their way to refugee camps.

Rohingya refugee Morean Katu nurses her six-month-old daughter Tokhia Katu while waiting with daughter Sherfara Katu, age 11, at an army post in Teknaf Upazila, after escaping from Myanmar into Bangladesh on Oct. 2, 2017. She and over 1000 refugees eventually loaded onto trucks with provisions provided by non-governmental organizations as they made their way to refugee camps.

© 2017 Cheryl Diaz Meyer. All Rights Reserved.

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Mohammadshofait Kurimullah, 8, still suffers from burn wounds when their house was set on fire in Lambaghuna Moungdaw in Myanmar. His mother, Yasmin Kurimullah, says she has not seen his father and one of her other sons since August 25. They now live in Whaikhyang Refugee Camp, near the Myanmar border in Bangladesh, Oct. 6, 2017.

Mohammadshofait Kurimullah, 8, still suffers from burn wounds when their house was set on fire in Lambaghuna Moungdaw in Myanmar. His mother, Yasmin Kurimullah, says she has not seen his father and one of her other sons since August 25. They now live in Whaikhyang Refugee Camp, near the Myanmar border in Bangladesh, Oct. 6, 2017.

© 2017 Cheryl Diaz Meyer. All Rights Reserved.

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Between rains, Rohingya refugees fold up a tarpaulin in Whaikhyang Refugee Camp in Bangladesh on Oct. 6, 2017. Hills once lush with greenery have been stripped and now shelter thousands of refugees seeking safety.

Between rains, Rohingya refugees fold up a tarpaulin in Whaikhyang Refugee Camp in Bangladesh on Oct. 6, 2017. Hills once lush with greenery have been stripped and now shelter thousands of refugees seeking safety.

© 2017 Cheryl Diaz Meyer. All Rights Reserved.

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Dildarhossein Hafezahammed, 11, helps move his aunt's pots and pans to the family's new shelter in Zadimora village, an unregistered refugee camp growing with plastic and bamboo shelters built by newly-arrived Rohingya refugees, near the Myanmar border in Bangladesh, Oct. 10, 2017. Water and sanitation is severely lacking in unregistered camps where NGOs are unable to support them, raising the risk for water-born disease, dysentery and cholera.

Dildarhossein Hafezahammed, 11, helps move his aunt's pots and pans to the family's new shelter in Zadimora village, an unregistered refugee camp growing with plastic and bamboo shelters built by newly-arrived Rohingya refugees, near the Myanmar border in Bangladesh, Oct. 10, 2017. Water and sanitation is severely lacking in unregistered camps where NGOs are unable to support them, raising the risk for water-born disease, dysentery and cholera.

© 2017 Cheryl Diaz Meyer. All Rights Reserved.

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Dilkayas Salehahmad, 11, washes clothes in the muddy waters flowing through Whaikhyang Refugee Camp in Bangladesh on Oct. 6, 2017. Only a month earlier, Dilkayas and her parents fled their village of Khawerbil Moungdaw in Myanmar to come to Bangladesh. Her father is blind after an attack by Buddhists in 2012. "We don't have any water in our shelter so I wash clothes in the stream," said Dilkayas.

Dilkayas Salehahmad, 11, washes clothes in the muddy waters flowing through Whaikhyang Refugee Camp in Bangladesh on Oct. 6, 2017. Only a month earlier, Dilkayas and her parents fled their village of Khawerbil Moungdaw in Myanmar to come to Bangladesh. Her father is blind after an attack by Buddhists in 2012. "We don't have any water in our shelter so I wash clothes in the stream," said Dilkayas.

© 2017 Cheryl Diaz Meyer. All Rights Reserved.

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Rohingya refugee Enamullah Zolal cares for his 15-year-old son Mohammadhanif who had polio, while his wife prepares dinner; Enamullah's 18-year-old son was shot in the head by the Myanmar army so the family escaped and built a shelter in Noyapara Camp in Teknaf Upazila, Bangladesh. Photo taken on Oct. 3, 2017.

Rohingya refugee Enamullah Zolal cares for his 15-year-old son Mohammadhanif who had polio, while his wife prepares dinner; Enamullah's 18-year-old son was shot in the head by the Myanmar army so the family escaped and built a shelter in Noyapara Camp in Teknaf Upazila, Bangladesh. Photo taken on Oct. 3, 2017.

© 2017 Cheryl Diaz Meyer. All Rights Reserved.

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Hundreds of Rohingya refugees flee the violence in Myanmar to Bangladeshi shores in Sabrang on Oct. 7, 2017. 

Hundreds of Rohingya refugees flee the violence in Myanmar to Bangladeshi shores in Sabrang on Oct. 7, 2017. 

© 2017 Cheryl Diaz Meyer. All Rights Reserved.

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 Rohingya refugee Umairhair Hasumiya, 7, plays with her 3-month-old brother Rihas as they wait for water in the Musoni  Noyapara refugee camp in Bangladesh on Oct. 9, 2017. A crisis of water-borne disease and diarrhea has gripped the camp where potable water is not available. A Bangladeshi neighbor offers water from her tap twice a day, but many of the camp's residents lay listless and ill from the unsanitary and unhygienic conditions. Fears of an epidemic are growing as cholera is endemic in Bangladesh. 

 Rohingya refugee Umairhair Hasumiya, 7, plays with her 3-month-old brother Rihas as they wait for water in the Musoni  Noyapara refugee camp in Bangladesh on Oct. 9, 2017. A crisis of water-borne disease and diarrhea has gripped the camp where potable water is not available. A Bangladeshi neighbor offers water from her tap twice a day, but many of the camp's residents lay listless and ill from the unsanitary and unhygienic conditions. Fears of an epidemic are growing as cholera is endemic in Bangladesh. 

© 2017 Cheryl Diaz Meyer. All Rights Reserved.

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Rohingya refugee boys nap midday from learning the Koran at a madrassa in Kutupalong Refugee Camp in Ukhia district, Bangladesh, Oct. 11, 2017. Once lush hills have been stripped of greenery as hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees who recently arrived in Bangladesh build shelters of plastic, tarpaulin and bamboo in Kutupalong Refugee Camp. As of September statistics, the camp has over 10,000 shelters on 1.5 square miles, and is growing daily.

Rohingya refugee boys nap midday from learning the Koran at a madrassa in Kutupalong Refugee Camp in Ukhia district, Bangladesh, Oct. 11, 2017. Once lush hills have been stripped of greenery as hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees who recently arrived in Bangladesh build shelters of plastic, tarpaulin and bamboo in Kutupalong Refugee Camp. As of September statistics, the camp has over 10,000 shelters on 1.5 square miles, and is growing daily.

© 2017 Cheryl Diaz Meyer. All Rights Reserved.

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Once lush hills have been stripped of greenery as hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees who recently arrived in Bangladesh build shelters of plastic, tarpaulin and bamboo in Kutupalong Refugee Camp in Ukhia District, Oct. 11, 2017.

Once lush hills have been stripped of greenery as hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees who recently arrived in Bangladesh build shelters of plastic, tarpaulin and bamboo in Kutupalong Refugee Camp in Ukhia District, Oct. 11, 2017.

© 2017 Cheryl Diaz Meyer. All Rights Reserved.

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Tired, hungry and scared, Rohingya refugees from Myanmar board a truck at the Sabrang army camp to be transported to refugee camps upon safely arriving to Bangladesh on Oct. 7, 2017.

Tired, hungry and scared, Rohingya refugees from Myanmar board a truck at the Sabrang army camp to be transported to refugee camps upon safely arriving to Bangladesh on Oct. 7, 2017.

© 2017 Cheryl Diaz Meyer. All Rights Reserved.

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