Refugees try to adapt to camp life after fleeing violence in western Myanmar


A general view shows a temporary refugee camp at the Danyawaddy football grounds, in Sittwe, Rakhine State, western Myanmar, 26 October 2016. Photo: Nyunt Win/EPA

In normal times the Danyawaddy football grounds in Sittwe are a place where people gather to play sports, but the grounds are Thursday a temporary shelter for hundreds of refugees in Myanmar's western Rakhine State.

Over 600 people of the Rakhine ethnic group moved into makeshift tents here about a week ago after they fled an outbreak of violence in the town of Maungdaw near the border with Bangladesh, an epa journalist reports.

Despite their uprooted lives, life appears to continue as normal here, with children playing among the tents, boys studying and reading, and people doing their laundry.

But the apparent normality has worn off for some people, who have already returned to Maungdaw to prepare for rice paddy harvesting.

One man in the camp, Maung Maung Kyaw, spoke to epa after finishing a phone call to his family in Maungdaw, in which he inquired about the conditions there.

Most families here left everything they have in Maungdaw when they escaped the violence, but don't yet feel secure enough to return.

On Oct. 9, attackers killed nine police officers, with at least four of the assailants slain in the incident in the Muslim-majority Township.

More people were arrested and lost their lives in the days following the attack after security forces pursued militant suspects in the area.

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