LIVE VIDEO:

Desperate Rohingya kids flee alone by boat

Associated Press
In this Oct. 19, 2013 photo, young ethnic Rohingya asylum seeker Senwara Begum, left, cries at a temporary shelter in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia after making a phone call to her family in Myanmar. After her tiny Muslim village in Myanmar's northwest Rakhine had been destroyed in a fire set by an angry Buddhist mob, she and her brother became separated from their family. (AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara)

View gallery

17 photos

The two children stood on the beach, at the end of the only world they knew, torn between land and sea.

They couldn't go back to their tiny Muslim village in Myanmar's northwest Rakhine because it had been devoured in a fire set by an angry Buddhist mob. In the smoke and chaos, the siblings became separated from their family. And after seven months of searching, they had lost hope of finding anyone alive.

The only way was forward. Hungry and scared, they eyed a rickety wooden fishing boat in the darkness. Mohamad Husein, just 15, dug into his pocket and pulled out a little wad of money for the captain. He and his 9-year-old sister, Senwara Begum, climbed on board, cramming themselves tightly between the other ethnic Rohingya in the small hull.

As the ship pushed off, they didn't realize they were among hundreds, if not thousands, of children joining one of the world's biggest boat exoduses since the Vietnam War. They only understood it wasn't safe to stay in a country that didn't want them.

Mohamad had no idea where they were headed. And as Senwara looked back in tears, she wondered if she would ever see her parents again.

Neither could imagine the horrors that lay ahead. (AP)

Find more news related pictures in our photo galleries and follow us on Tumblr

View Comments (10)