Myanmar cyclone threatens displaced Muslims

Bangkok, May 14 (IANS) Myanmar should take immediate action to evacuate to higher ground tens of thousands of Muslims displaced by ethnic cleansing in Arakan State in advance of a tropical cyclone in the Bay of Bengal, Human Rights Watch said Tuesday.

Half of the approximately 140,000 ethnic Rohingya and Kaman Muslims displaced by violence and persecution since June 2012 are currently living in flood-prone paddy fields and coastal areas that may be hit by storm surges associated with Cyclone Mahasen.

The cyclone will approach the coast of western Myanmar and Bangladesh late Wednesday.

While storm surges could affect many low-lying areas in coastal Bangladesh and western Myanmar, displaced people unable to leave camps could be at particular risk.

Said Brad Adams of Human Rights Watch: “If the government fails to evacuate those at risk, any disaster that results will not be natural, but man-made.”

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