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Bangladesh taking step to relocate one lakh Rohingya refugees in Bhasanchar Island

By The Burma Times

Bangladesh is immediately taking step to be relocated around 100,000 (one lakh) Rohingya refugees from Cox’s Bazar district to Bhasanchar of Hatiya upazila in Noakhali as works of building shelters and housing are in progress.

The relocation may start before the upcoming rainy season depending on completion of the construction works. Primarily they are planning to relocate nearly one lakh Rohingyas from Ukhiya to Bhasanchar, Divisional Commissioner Abdul Mannan said.
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“The Bangladesh Navy is building the shelters, houses and doing protection works in Bhasanchar. We have requested the principal secretary of the Prime Minister’s Office to form a committee in this regard as the district administration is the owner of the land,” he added.

The divisional commissioner also expressed the hope that they would start the relocation before the upcoming rainy season.

When asked a refugee committee member, he said “We are living in Kutuplang camp, it is good for us. We will not go to Bhasanchar Island which is risky of life.

“We are human being, we come to Bangladesh from Burma for safety as a Muslim country. Why Bangladesh is taking us in hazardous place where tide water and stroms are affect the island, he said.

The Rohingyas who are sheltered in Kutupalang and Balukhali in Ukhiya would be shifted first, said Kamal Hossain, deputy commissioner of Cox’s Bazar.

“We have estimated that around 1.31 lakh Rohingya refugees are at risk of being affected in floods and 24,000 more are at risk of landslides as they live in the slopes of hills,” he added.

According to a report of the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief, 40 percent works of building 120 shelters and 1,440 houses have already been completed.

The report was presented at a meeting on Safeguard and Security of Rohingyas at the divisional commissioner’s office on Sunday with Nojibur Rahman, principal secretary of the PMO, who took part through videoconference, said Hasan Bin Ali, PS to the divisional commissioner.

The ground floor of the shelters being built in Bhasanchar would be four feet high from the sea level and the first floor would be 10 feet high from the ground floor, said sources. The ground floor would survive the tide below four feet and the people taking shelter on the first floor would be protected from tide below 14 feet.

Besides, an embankment with three metres height and 37 metres width is being built around a 13-km area on the island in addition to protection works of around 21-km area.

The Cox’s Bazar DC said they have also selected 540 acres of land in Ukhia to relocate the Rohingyas vulnerable to floods and landslides in case of emergency on a temporary basis before the rainy season. ##

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