One year on, Rohingya refugees struggle on the edge of the abyss

Aug 25 marks the first anniversary of the launch of a crackdown by Myanmar's military in Rakhine state that drove hundreds of thousands of people to flee into Bangladesh. While United Nations agencies have helped stabilise the situation, funding is short and the future remains uncertain.

Rohingya refugees collecting food from a relief distribution centre in the Balukhali camp in Bangladesh's Cox's Bazar district. There are still almost one million refugees living in basic shelters in an area that suffers some of the worst monsoon con
Rohingya refugees collecting food from a relief distribution centre in the Balukhali camp in Bangladesh's Cox's Bazar district. There are still almost one million refugees living in basic shelters in an area that suffers some of the worst monsoon conditions in the world, with another cyclone season on its way. PHOTO: REUTERS
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COX'S BAZAR (Bangladesh) • A year into a crisis that has sent over 700,000 Rohingya fleeing into Bangladesh to escape violence in Myanmar, living conditions in the teeming refugee camps of Cox's Bazar have undoubtedly improved, but ongoing funding shortages mean that "the world's most persecuted people" still live under the shadow of another potential tragedy.

Standing in the heart of the world's biggest refugee settlement, it is hard to believe that just one year ago this sprawling makeshift city, where almost one million people now live in plastic and bamboo shelters crammed together across hillsides as far as the eye can see, simply did not exist.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 25, 2018, with the headline One year on, Rohingya refugees struggle on the edge of the abyss. Subscribe