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In photos: After harrowing escape from Burma, Rohingya face desperation in Bangladesh

A Rohingya refugee boy desperate for aid cries near the Balukhali refugee camp on Sept. 20, 2017, in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh.

Since Aug. 25, more than half a million Rohingya Muslims have fled a scorched-earth military campaign in Burma, often making a dangerous sea voyage to neighboring Bangladesh. There, they now live in vast, spontaneously built tent cities.

These photos by Getty Images photographer Kevin Frayer capture their harrowing journey.

Hatred toward the Rohingya minority is centuries-old in Burma. Years of violence culminated this year in the largest-known exodus of Rohingya. Thousands are believed to have been killed in their villages, and hundreds more drowned or starved while escaping.

The monsoon-drenched camps in Bangladesh will be their home for the foreseeable future.

Life in the camps is entirely dependent on humanitarian aid provided by an array of organizations and governments. They provide food, water, health care, sanitation, as well as bamboo and tarpaulins to build shelters.

The rate of arrivals — often thousands or even tens of thousands in a day — has made it near-impossible for the aid effort to keep up.

Bangladeshi civil and religious organizations have stepped in to fill the void. Many here sympathize with the Rohingya not just for humanitarian reasons, but also as fellow Muslims who share other cultural and historical links. But their aid distribution is much more chaotic than the efforts of well-established agencies.

People are left to fight for scraps of food. Most of the time, it is the fiercest, not the hungriest, who prevail.

Read more: 

Under siege in their villages, Rohingya still in Burma say they’re trapped

How Bangladeshis are coping with half a million new Rohingya refugees