Women pass their time in a Rohingya internally displaced person (IDP) camp outside of Sittw
Women pass their time in a Rohingya internally displaced person (IDP) camp outside of Sittwe (Reuters)

Myanmar authorities have attempted to force Rohingya refugees in Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine state, to move closer to beach areas as the cyclone Mahasen approaches the exposed coast.

Sources speaking to IBTimes UK said that Rohingya Muslims refused any attempt to relocate as the cyclone, which has already killed at least seven people and displaced 3,881 in Sri Lanka, nears.

The Myanmar government planned to move 38,000 internally displaced people, but many refused fearing the authorities' intentions.

Nay San Lwin, a Rohingya living in Germany with contacts in Sittwe, claimed that Rohingya "were forced to go" but only five families agreed. "100% confirmed that the authorities are forcing Rohingya refugees in Sittwe to move to the beach," he said. "State Chief Minister warned today that will take serious action and President Office Minister Aung Min also told the same like at meeting in Yangon today."

His report was confirmed by Aung Aung, a Rohingya living in a refugee camp in Sittwe.

Mark Farmaner, of the Burma Campaign UK, confirmed to IBTimes UK that he heard reports of Rohingya forced closer to the beaches but was unable to confirm it. "Rohingya are still not being moved [to safety]," he said.

Hla Maung said he lost his mother and two young daughters during the clashes between Muslims and Buddhists.

He told the BBC: "I lost everything ... I don't want to go anywhere. I'll stay here. If I die, I want to die here," he said.

At least 192 people were killed in June and October last year in sectarian clashes between Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya. Reuters reported that people at a camp near the sea by Hmanzi Junction near Sittwe said they would rather prefer to die in the storm than evacuate.

Farmaner said he is particularly concerned about the cyclone hitting Bangladesh. There are up to 250,000 Rohingya living in southern Bangladesh, many of whom fled from Myanmar in the early 1990s complaining of abuses by the army.

UN says storm expected to make landfall in Chittagong: "In its strongest force, the cyclone will be hitting area where hundreds of thousands of refugee are stacked," he said. "There are people very vulnerable in terrible condition and we've not heard any attempt by Bangladeshi government to move them.

"Refugee living in official camps are already not in a very good condition. Those who live in unofficial camps, made of makeshift shelter, are in an appalling condition," he added.

About 140,000 people were displaced in June and a second wave of violence in October in western Rakhine state.

Burma Campaign UK says the international community "applied the most low-level diplomacy" and failed to put pressure on the Burma government, who did nothing to prevent the crisis.

"It's already a humanitarian crisis but it will become an humanitarian disaster. Lives will be lost. If the international community had put pressure on Burma that could've been avoided."

Burma Campaign UK called on the British government and international community to take action to force President Thein Sein to allow unrestricted humanitarian aid, and stop violating international humanitarian law.

At least 50 Rohingya Muslims were feared drowned on Tuesday when boats evacuating them from the path of the cyclone capsized off western Burma.

In 2008, Cyclone Nargis killed more than 130,000 people in Myanmar.

Eight Million at Risk from Cyclone Mahasen [PHOTOS]

Village hit by cyclone Nargis, in 2008 (Reuters)