Fleeing to Bangladesh by Night

Photographs by Paula Bronstein

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Rohingya Face Rough Seas to Find Refuge in Bangladesh

More than half a million Rohingya, a Muslim minority community from Myanmar, have fled to Bangladesh as a result of an ethnic cleansing campaign in their home state of Rakhine. Many have come by boat to Cox’s Bazar, a fishing port in the Bay of Bengal, north of the Myanmar border. In fall of 2017, Getty Images photographer Paula Bronstein photographed scores of Rohingya refugees as they traveled up the Naf river and came ashore Shah Porir Dip island in battered and sometimes capsized boats. On September 28, a boat carrying 100 refugees sunk in rough seas; seventeen survivors were found along with the bodies of 15 women and children. Meanwhile, Myanmar's de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, downplayed the crisis and defended her country’s security forces, making her the subject of increasing international criticism. Bangladesh's prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, has lamented the humanitarian challenges of hosting a vast and growing population who currently lack food, medical services, and toilets.

See more of Paula’s pictures on the Getty Images website.