The United Nations has confirmed that around 270,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar after a violent crackdown on insurgent, leaving for neighbouring Bangladesh.
Previous estimates of 164,000 refugees were revised upwards, significantly higher than previous estimates made by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
UN refugee agency spokeswoman Vivian Tan said that even the revised number is still only a “rough estimate”.
“This is an alarming number. Existing camps are full to the capacity,” she said.
“There is a lot of pressure on relief agencies to accommodate the rising numbers.”
This new wave of Rohingya flooded into Bangladesh after Rohingya insurgents assaulted security force posts in the state of Rakhine in Myanmar, leading to a counteroffensive by the army that killed at least 400 people.
AdamaDieng, the UN special advisor for the prevention of genocide has said that the situation is approaching genocide.
“When they are being killed and forcibly transferred in a widespread or systematic manner, this could constitute ethnic cleansing and could amount to crimes against humanity,” he said.
“In fact it can be the precursor to all the egregious crimes — and I mean genocide.”
“We are not yet there, we cannot say we are facing a genocide, but it is time to take action.”
Aung San Suu Kyi, the de facto leader of the first civilian lead Myanmar government in decades, and winner of a Nobel Peace Prize, has been criticised for her lack of action in the crisis.
There have been calls for her Nobel Prize to be revoked, including from Nobel Laureate Desmond Tutu, an anti-apartheid activist.
“Your emergence into public life allayed our concerns about violence being perpetrated against members of the Rohingya,” he said in an open letter posted on social media.
“But what some have called ‘ethnic cleansing’ and others ‘a slow genocide’ has persisted – and recently accelerated.
The ABC has previously reported allegations of mass killings in the village ChutPyin, where apparently about 130 people including women and children.