Bangladesh Offers Land To Shelter Rohingya Fleeing Myanmar
Sep 12,2017 , 08:20 AM IST
Bangladesh has agreed to free land for a new camp to shelter some of the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who have fled recent violence in Myanmar, an official said on Monday.
The new camp will help relieve some pressure on existing settlements in the Bangladeshi border district of Cox's Bazar, where 3,13,000 have arrived since August 25, according to the United Nations.
"The two refugees camps we are in are beyond overcrowded," said UN refugee agency spokeswoman Vivian Tan.
Other new arrivals were being sheltered in schools, or were huddling in makeshift settlements with no toilets along roadsides and in open fields. Basic resources were scarce, including food, clean water and medical aid.
Still, more refugees were arriving. An Associated Press reporter witnessed hundreds streaming through the border at Shah Puri Dwip on Monday.
"Tomorrow we are expecting an airlift of relief supplies for 20,000 people," Tan said.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina offered 810 hectares near the existing camp of Kutupalong "to build temporary shelters for the Rohingya newcomers," according to a Facebook post today by Mohammed Shahriar Alam, a junior minister for foreign affairs.
He also said the government would begin fingerprinting and registering the new arrivals on Monday. Ms Hasina is scheduled to visit Rohingya refugees on Tuesday.
Aid agencies have been overwhelmed by the influx of Rohingya, many of whom are arriving hungry and traumatized after walking days through jungles or packing into rickety wooden boats in search of safety in Bangladesh.
Many tell similar stories -- of Myanmar soldiers firing indiscriminately on their villages, burning their homes and warning them to leave or to die. Some say they were attacked by Buddhist mobs.
On Monday, Bangladesh's human rights watchdog demanded that atrocities by Myanmar authorities against Rohingya be prosecuted. "This genocide needs to be tried at international court," National Human Rights Commission Chairman Kazi Reazul Haque told a news conference in Cox's Bazar.
He said stronger action was needed from the international community, including the United Nations, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.