Desperate for safety in neighbouring Bangladesh, thousands of people have already crossed the porous land border made up of muddy rice fields. This number surpasses the total number of Rohingya who had escaped Myanmar following a smaller insurgent attack last October.

The latest estimate, according to the United Nations aid workers on the ground, suggests a total of nearly 150,000 Rohingya have taken shelter in Bangladesh's southern district of Cox's Bazar since last year alone.

The makeshift camps set up at the time are being expanded but the International Organisation for Migration warns aid agencies "are now struggling to cope with the influx of new arrivals."

A series of co-ordinated attacks by Rohingya insurgents on Myanmar security forces in the north of Myanmar's Rakhine State triggered a crackdown by Myanmar forces that has sent a stream of Rohingya villagers fleeing to Bangladesh. About 400 people have been killed in the clashes in Buddist-majority Myanmar.

Record numbers

Bangladesh is already host to more than 400,000 Rohingya, who have fled persecution in Myanmar since the early 1990s. Unable to cope with the recent exodus, Bangladesh, which has grown increasingly hostile toward the Rohingya, has been forcibly pushing thousands of people back into violence-wrought Myanmar.

Local media in Bangladesh reported on Monday over 2,000 Rohingya were arrested on one of the country's southern islands and deported back to Myanmar in trawlers. Thousands more wait in no man's land for a chance to cross.

"Bangladeshi authorities have maintained their long-standing policy of sealing the border with Myanmar," confirmed Amnesty's Blomqvist. "This is forcing refugees to take dangerous and irregular routes to enter Bangladesh, which could have deadly consequences."

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