Editorial : Nowhere to go

As the Rohingya crisis deepens with every passing day more than three lakh refugees have poured in Bangladesh, a country which is finding it hard to accommodate the swelling number of refugees.

The Bangladesh government has appealed for international support to move the Rohingya to a secluded island as the impoverished country confronts a growing crisis over where to house an influx that has mounted during the last six weeks.

More than 300,000 Rohingya have poured into Bangladesh adding to around 300,000 refugees already living in overflowing UN-run camps in Cox’s Bazar district, close to the border with Myanmar.

The surge has overwhelmed the Bangladesh authorities, who are scrambling to find land to build more camps, including on the inhospitable and uninhabited Thengar Char island — recently renamed Bhasan Char — despite reluctance on the part of Rohingya leaders and UN officials.

But given the magnitude of the crisis thousands of Rohingya Muslim refugees who fled violence in Myanmar in search of refuge could be forced to make their new homes on a barren Bangladeshi island that floods every year.

Bhasan Char, located in the estuary of the Meghna river, is a one-hour boat ride from Sandwip, the nearest inhabited island, and two hours from Hatiya, one of Bangladesh’s largest islands.

The authorities first proposed settling Rohingya refugees there in 2015, as the camps in Cox’s Bazar became overstretched with new arrivals.

 But the plan was apparently shelved last year amid reports that the silt island, which only emerged from the sea in 2006, was unhabitable due to regular tidal flooding.

 The government is trying to find new room for the Rohingya, including establishing a new 2,000-acre (800- hectare) camp near Cox’s Bazar, close to the Myanmar border, which will house around 250,000 Rohingya.

As the exodus swells however, there are fears that the place may not be enough to accommodate all those in need of shelter.

 As a result, the Bangladesh government is speeding up work at Bhasan Char with a view to building a 10,000-acre facility that can house hundreds of thousands of Rohingya.

 The Rohingyas as of now seem to be caught into a tidal wave of desperation and refusal as they have nowhere to go.

The Rohingya crisis can be termed as a worst form of human rights abuse that has been reported in recent times. A recently released report compiled by the UN reveals a shocking picture of the abuse and violence faced by the beleaguered Rohingya minority.

But what can be termed as another setback to the already beleaguered Rohingyas is the failure of the Muslim world to come forward and provide a helping hand. Muslims across the globe, especially the middle east have failed the Rohingyas bitterly.


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