In pictures: Faces of desperation


Photojournalist Kevin Frayer spent the last several weeks documenting the humanitarian crisis of Rohingya Muslims fleeing violence in Myanmar — a situation the United Nations has called “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.” Here is what he saw:

A Rohingya boy desperate for food cries as he climbs onto a truck distributing aid for a local NGO near the Balukali refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. The refugee population is expected to swell further, with thousands more said to be making the perilous journey on foot toward the border — or paying smugglers to take them across the water in wooden boats. | All photographs by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Rohingya refugees walk through paddy fields at the Palongkali refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh

A Rohingya woman is carried by relatives on the Bangladesh side of the Naf River after fleeing Myanmar. Hundreds are known to have died trying to escape Myanmar, and survivors arrive in Bangladesh with horrifying accounts of villages burned, women raped, and scores killed in “clearance operations” by Myanmar’s army and Buddhist mobs sparked by militant attacks on security posts in Rakhine State in late August.

Upon arrival in Bangladesh, Rohingya refugees live in makeshift shelters at the Balukali refugee camp.

Refugees crowd around aid workers as food is distributed near the Balukali refugee camp. What the Rohingyas flee to is a different kind of suffering: sprawling makeshift camps rife with fears of malnutrition, cholera, and other diseases.

Malnourished and suffering from diarrhea, two Rohingya children cry on the floor of a shelter at the Balukali refugee camp.

Refugees reach for food being distributed by an NGO near the Balukali refugee camp. Bangladesh, whose acceptance of the Rohingyas has been praised by humanitarian officials for saving lives, has urged the creation of an internationally-recognized “safe zone.”

Everyone carries their own weight: Here, a Rohingya refugee boy hoists his belongings onto his shoulders as he arrives in Bangladesh with his family after crossing the Naf River.

A Rohingya woman holds her child as she stands outside a shelter in the sprawling Balukali refugee camp.

A refugee woman collapses, exhausted on a beach on the Bangladesh side of the Naf River after fleeing her village in Myanmar.

A woman carries her child — with a rug acting as a temporary cover from the rain – after arriving on the Bangladesh side of the Naf River.

A boy cries as he fights his way through a crowd to get food from aid workers. NGOs are struggling to keep pace with the scale of need and the staggering number of child refugees — an estimated 60 percent of whom arrive alone.

Rohingya refugees carry their belongings as they walk along the shores of the Naf River after fleeing Myanmar.

An elderly Rohingya woman sits outside her shelter in the Balukali refugee camp. World leaders are still debating how to confront the country and its de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate who championed democracy in Myanmar, but now appears either unwilling or unable to stop the army’s treatment of Rohingyas.

A woman is helped from a boat as she arrives, drained from the perilous journey across the Naf River, at Shah Porir Dwip after fleeing her village in Myanmar.

A Rohingya family takes in their new surroundings upon arrival on the Bangladesh side of the Naf River.

Refugees rest in a Madrasa, an Islamic school, in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.

A young girl uses a plastic bag as protection from the monsoon rain at the Palongkali refugee camp.

A Rohingya woman collapses onto her bags, exhausted upon arrival in Bangladesh.

Refugees approach from all sides as an aid vehicle arrives to distribute food near the Balukali camp.

More than half a million Rohingya Muslims have flooded into Bangladesh, and the Balukali camp is now a sprawling city of makeshift shelters.

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