Death toll in Rohingya boat accident off Bangladesh rises to 38

Death toll in Rohingya boat accident off Bangladesh rises to 38

He said the bodies of 15 children and 11 women were recovered, and it was unclear whether anyone was still missing.

United Nations sources have said around 20,000 more Rohingya trying to flee are stuck at the border, as aid workers in Bangladesh struggle to alleviate the sufferings of a sudden influx of thousands of hungry and traumatised people.

A further 20,000 Rohingya have massed along the Bangladeshi frontier, barred from entering the South Asian country, while scores of desperate people have drowned attempting to cross the Naf, a border river, in makeshift boats.

An official from the International Organisation for Migration told reporters at least 18,500 Rohingya refugees have crossed the border in the past six days, joining the almost 400,000 Rohingya already housed in squalid camps in Bangladesh.

The IOM said it was hard to estimate the number of people stranded in the no man's land at the border between the neighbors, but added there were "hundreds and hundreds" of people stuck there. The top official in Cox's Bazar, Mohammad Ali Hossain, said the bodies would be buried because no one had claimed them. An ethnic minority disdained by the Burmese public and ignored by the Burmese government, the Rohingya do not have full citizenship rights.

Nearly 400 people have died in Myanmar since the country's army stepped up a military crackdown on Rohingya Muslims last week.

Media reports said Myanmar security forces used disproportionate force, displacing thousands of Rohingya villagers and destroying their homes with mortars and machine guns.

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Burma is often called Myanmar, a name that military authorities adopted in 1989. That set off a surge of anti-Muslim sentiment throughout the country.

It is the first time in Rakhine's bitter and bloody crisis that Hindus have fled the country - a sign violence is billowing out.

Since last October, the United Nations has documented mass gang rapes, killings - including infants and young children - brutal beatings, and disappearances amid a crackdown on Rohingya which has left some 400 people dead.

An AFP reporter on a government-led trip to Maungdaw this week saw columns of smoke rising from several burning villages, while terrified Buddhist and Hindu civilians huddled in schools in the main town.

"Survivors and eyewitnesses from Chut Pyin told Fortify Rights that soldiers and armed residents burned every house in the village", the group said in a statement.

Between 300,000 and 500,000 Rohingyas live in Bangladesh but only about 32,000 of them have refugee status and live in camps in the Cox's Bazar district.

The latest deaths raised the Rohingya death toll to at least 40 on Friday, all of whom who died in the river trying to leave Myanmar. "They need immediate shelter and food assistance", a spokesperson for the International Organization for Migration told the BBC. Hundreds of civilians were killed, they say.

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