On May 3rd, people first fled from their homes to make-shift camps set up for them hastily by the police and the army in Imphal. With little infrastructure or ability to support the 30,000+ people that flex into these camps, these camps soon became insufferable as sickness and diarrhea ran rampant.
People who just a few hours ago were going about their daily business, suddenly found themselves in a situation they were not prepared for. They had to use plastic bags and share the few spoons someone had thought to bring, to get food hastily made, with inadequate supplies and cleanliness standards.
In some camps children were shell shocked and too scared to talk, in others children ran around excited about the “freedom” they suddenly had from school and the instant friends they had in their camp-mates. The adults huddled and tried to figure out what their next steps would be.
Over the next few days, people streamed out of Imphal on any flight to any destination they could get a ticket for. Airlines jacked up their prices 5 fold, and people were happy to pay these prices to escape the violent mobs.
The refugees found refuge in many many private homes of relatives and friends and the tribal community opened their arms to them; many more were and are being sheltered in camps set up in schools, churches, and halls by local civil society organizations, in Manipur in Lamka, Kangpokpi, Moreh, and outside of Manipur in Assam, Mizoram, Meghalaya, New Delhi, West Bengal, Maharashtra and many other states across India.
Any number you have heard is not accurate as no one has a true count. The number is much much higher.
With the internet shutdown, schools and offices closed, and the state being unsafe for so many, many more not directly affected has also had to flee Manipur because there is just frankly nothing to do, and people are unsafe.