PALONG KHALI: The scene has played out with heartbreaking regularity as hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims have fled persecution in Myanmar into neighboring Bangladesh: terrified knots of men, women and children crossing the swollen Naf River and waiting along the border for permission to cross.
On Thursday, at least 2,000 exhausted and starving people waited in rice paddy fields at one border crossing for Bangladesh border guards to let them enter. They have been waiting for two days and while they were given packets of food by aid groups, permission to enter eluded them.
So they waited, crouched in the muddy fields. The children carried younger siblings. The elderly were helped along by relatives. Without enough drinking water to go around, many people drank from the muddy canals around the fields.