The images released by the New York-based Human Rights Watch show "near total destruction" of a predominantly Rohingya Muslim part of Kyaukpyu, one of several areas in Rakhine state where battles between Rohingyas and ethnic Rakhine Buddhists threaten to derail the former Burma's fragile democratic transition. 

More than 811 buildings and houseboats were razed in Kyaukpyu on Oct. 24, forcing many Rohingya to flee north by sea toward the state capital Sittwe, Human Rights Watch said.

"Burma's [Myanmar’s] government urgently needs to provide security for the Rohingya in Arakan (Rakhine) State, who are under vicious attack," Phil Robertson, the group's deputy Asia director, said.

There were widespread unconfirmed reports of boatloads of Rohingyas trying to cross the sea border to neighboring Bangladesh, which has denied them refugee status since 1992.

No food, no water

Rohingyas in dozens of packed boats with no food or water that have fled Kyaukpyu -- an industrial zone important to China -- and other recent hotspots were seeking access on Friday to overcrowded refugee camps around the state capital Sittwe, according to four Rohingya refugee sources.