More than 100,000 minority muslims have fled from religious violence and persecution in Myanmar, charities have said.
In recent weeks violence against Rohingya muslims in western Myanmar has led to a mass exodus, as at least 8,000 people fled to neighbouring Thailand, as well as Bangladesh, India and Nepal.
Rohingya muslims escaped by boat, desperate to escape communal violence that broke out two years and has driven more than 100,000 muslims to flee across the borders to neighbouring countries.
Chris Lewa, director of the nonprofit Rohingya advocacy group Arakan Project, told the Associated Press that an average of 900 people per day are been piling into cargo ships moored off Rakhine state since the 15 October.
Lewa said that some Rohingya families have been told the huge cargo ships already have started arriving in Thailand. But Rohingya people who fled to Thailand still faced deportation and often fell victim to human traffickers.
Myanmar is a Buddhist nation of 50 million. But an estimated 1.3 million Rohingya muslims, who are known to have migrated from neighboring Bangladesh generations ago, live in the northern tip of Rakhine state.
The Rohingya have been denied Myanmar citizenship and have been attacked by Buddhist mobs, which has left hundreds dead and 140,000 trapped in camps. In recent months Myanmar authorities have begun an aggressive campaign to register Rohingya members as Bengalis, and label them as illegal migrants from Bangladesh.
Rohingya villagers told the Associated Press said that some of them were confined to their villages for weeks at a time for refusing to take part in the "verification" process; others said they had been beaten or arrested. Rakhine state authorities denied any knowledge of any abuse.
Every year Rohingya muslims travel from the Rakhine state to celebrate Eid al-Adha with family and friends. The estimates are similar to figures compiled by the UN – which has labeled the Rohingya one of the most persecuted religious minorities in the world – are that nearly double the number of people are leaving the area that the same period in 2013.