Rohingya refugees' battle for survival has only just begun

A Kiwi aid worker who has worked in Gaza and similar conflict zones is describing the plight of the Rohingya people fleeing Myanmar as beyond belief.

World Vision's Alex Snary has been to makeshift camps on the Bangladesh side of the border, which is now home to more than 600,000 refugees.

It's an incoming tide of misery that hasn't stopped since August this year.

Hundreds of thousands of Muslim Rohingya have fled to the mud and waterlogged strip of land, and still they keep coming. World Vision is providing emergency relief packages of rice and other staples, but the scale of need has shocked Mr Snary, a seasoned Kiwi aid worker.

"They have fled the firing and they only have the clothes on their backs," he says. "They've arrived here with literally nothing, so all of their basic needs of shelter, food, medical supplies - these are the things the international community is rallying around to try and provide."

Mr Snary says the people they're dealing with are traumatised and broken. Many have lost family members to the violence in Myanmar.

Twenty-year-old Rahana was full term when she fled Rakhine Province, where the military and some Buddhist locals are burning down villages. She and her husband had owned a tea shop. She hasn't seen him since. Four days after leaving her home to walk to safety she gave birth.

Sanjida and her husband, Ekhtiar, are grieving. They arrived at the camp with two children, but their eight-month-old son came down with pneumonia and, without medical supplies, they watched him die. Sanjida says she cannot bear the sadness, and her sorrow is eating her inside.

More than 60 percent of the refugees are children. Many have endured what no child should.

Five-year-old Amira was shot in the stomach while her family was escaping. Her father, Younous, says it took two days before they could get her treatment. He says Amira used to be happy and joyous, but now she doesn't even talk.

"Many of the children here lost their parents," says Mr Snary. "They're not under the supervision of adults and they're very vulnerable."

Rana, 12, lost his parents and siblings as they fled his village. A neighbour is helping him in the camp, but essentially he's on his own. He says his heart is crying to get his family back.

Still, Myanmar's Rohingya keep coming - the ones lucky enough to have made it to the Bangladesh border. But their battle for survival has only just begun.