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Rohingya Massive Evacuation in Rakhine state of Myanmar

by Tejaswi Bhardwaj

The villages around Maungdaw in Rakhine state of Myanmar witnessed a massive evacuation of the Rohingya settlements. The huge clearance of the land first by burning the villages and later by bulldozers have destroyed the Rohingya buildings, mosques, cemeteries and homes which has totally removed the roots of Rohingya history and culture. The temporal satellite imagery of the villages around Maungdaw from DigitalGlobe between Dec,2017 and Feb,2018 indicates destruction of 28 villages in a buffer zone of 50 Km (30 mile).The Myanmar government considered this process as “Clearance Operations” under which nearly 40 percent of the Rohingya villages were targeted for clearance and another 34 villages were partially abandoned.According to Amnesty International, the Myanmar security forces have set fire on more than 80 villages in northern Rakhine state.

The given set of satellite imagery by DigitalGlobe, Dec 2,2017 (left);and Feb 19,2018 (right) shows the extreme destruction of the Rohingya settlements around the north of Maungdaw, Rakhine state, Myanmar.

                                                The village of Thit Tone Nar Gwa Son, Myanmar© DigitalGlobe

The given set of satellite images by DigitalGlobe, Dec 20,2017, (left);and Feb 13,2018 (right)shows the extreme destruction of the settlements around the southeast of Maungdaw, Rakhine state, Myanmar. The people of Rohingya community who were denied of the legal proofs of their citizenship in Myanmar have no rights on their land after their villages had been razed permanently.

                                                   The village of MyinHlut, Myanmar© DigitalGlobe

The combination of two satellite images on Dec 2, 2017 (left); and on Feb 5, 2018 (right) provided by DigitalGlobe indicates the situation of before and after the government's bulldozing operation during the massive evacuation of the predominantly Rohingya village of Myar Zin located about 30 Km north of Maungdaw in Rakhine.

                                                               The village ofMyar Zin, Myanmar © DigitalGlobe

The combination of two satellite images on Dec 20,2017 (left); and Feb 13, 2018 (right) shows the village of Zone Kar Yar which was also predominantly Rohingya village has been completely levelled by Myanmar authorities in recent weeks.

                                                               The village of Zone Kar Yar, Myanmar © DigitalGlobe

The Rohingya people have migrated across region in significant numbers since 1970’s. The spread of Rohingya people is witnessed both inside and outside Myanmar. The continuous military crackdown and unprecedented violence by the Myanmar military on the Rohingya villages since the year 1990’s have compelled them to seek refuge in refugee camps in Cox Bazar, Bangladesh. Due to the consistent evacuation of Rohingya community, more than 5,00,000 Rohingya have fled targeted violence in Rakhine state, Myanmar since 25 August, 2017 and crossed the border into neighbouring Bangladesh. 

A group of Rohingya refugees after crossing the Bangladesh-Myanmar border, September 1, 2017 © Mohammad Ponoir Hossain/Reuters

An initiative towards hosting the large number of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh has been taken by an international humanitarian non-governmental organization known as Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). The map shows the refugee camps organized by MSF providing basic and medical services in 7 refugee camps near Chittagong and Cox Bazar in Bangladesh.
Map showing establishments of 7 refugee camps under MSF Projects near Chittagong and Cox Bazar in Bangladesh 

The temporal satellite imagery from DigitalGlobe clearly indicates the immense level of evacuation and destruction occurred on the Rohingya villages in Rakhine state of Myanmar which has drastically changed the morphology of the region turning the lands into barren fields. The refugee camps hosted the Rohingya refugees in 7 camps located near Chittagong and Cox Bazar in Bangladesh provided medical facilities to around 30,000 refugees since August 25,2017.

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