Rohingyas fleeing cyclone, risk drowning

Cyclone Mahasen, which is expected to make a landfall early on Friday, could affect more than eight-million people in northeast India, Bangladesh and Myanmar.

Dozens of minority Muslims fleeing the cyclone were killed when their boats capsized off western Myanmar on Monday.

Myanmar authorities resist the massive evacuation of low-lying camps ahead of Cyclone Mahasen.

Thousands of Rohingya Muslims living in refugee camps in low-lying flood-prone areas said they do not trust the Myanmar authorities.

The United Nations has called for an urgent evacuation ahead of the storm, warning that many areas, where displaced people are now living, are in low-lying coastal areas at risk of flooding or tidal surges.

International rights groups and aid agencies urged the Myanmar government to shift displaced Rohingya to safer areas.

“It is essential that humanitarian principles are adhered to in moving all affected populations safely to suitable locations and that no one is left out,” the British-based aid agency Oxfam’s director for Myanmar, Jane Lonsdale, said in a statement.

Rohingya Muslims have faced torture, neglect, and repression in Myanmar for many years.

About 800,000 Rohingyas in state of Rakhine are deprived of citizenship rights, becoming vulnerable to acts of violence, expulsion, and displacement.


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