Sunday, 28 November, 2021

Deal on UN Engagement: Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar now eager to go to Bhasan Char

Deal on UN Engagement: Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar now eager to go to Bhasan Char

The forcibly displaced Rohingyas living in Bhasan Char have exulted over the deal signed between Bangladesh government and United Nations (UN) on providing them with humanitarian services in the island.

Hearing the news of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the UN, the Rohingyas staying in Cox’s Bazar camps have got overwhelmed and are now expressing strong desire for relocation to Bhasan Char in Noakhali district.

The Rohingyas, who have been relocated to Bhasan Char, are happy with the deal as it will facilitate close cooperation between the government and the UN in providing humanitarian support to the displaced people.

They brought out a procession on Sunday, hailing the agreement. Over 1,200 Rohingyas joined the procession which started from CIC Office (Shelter-09) and terminated at Rohingya Bazar No. 1.    

Carrying various placards and banners that read WELCOME UN, WELCOME UNHCR, THANK YOU UN, WE ARE HAPPY AT BHASAN CHAR 2021, the participants in the procession shouted joyful slogans.

Amir Hossain, a Rohingya living in Bhasan Char, said, “Earlier, we lived in a small place in Cox’s Bazar. Now we are very happy as we have got a lot of open space here. Our boys and girls can play and move around. The environment in Bhasan Char is really beautiful.”

 “I always tell my relatives and friends, who are still living in Cox’s Bazar camps, to come to Bhasan Char without any hesitation. I have been encouraging them to come here since my arrival in Bhashan Char,” he said.

A large number of displaced Rohingyas, who have been living a miserable life in Cox’s Bazar camps, are now willing to go to Bhasan Char following a deal signed with the UN on Saturday.

“Many of our relatives have already shifted to Bhasan Char and are living a better life there. They told us over phone that Bhasan Char is more safe and comfortable that Cox’s Bazar camps,” said some Rohingyas living on the island.

They told us that the houses built at Rohingya camp in Cox’s Bazar are surrounded by bamboo and triplets. They are vulnerable to natural disasters. On the other hand, the houses in Bhasan Char are safe.

While visiting Bhasan Char, this correspondent saw that 1,440 cluster houses and 120 shelter houses, four-storey building, have already been set up in Bhasan Char to temporarily relocate a group of Rohingya people. These cluster houses have been built in the style of cluster villages.

There is a total 12 houses is in each cluster house. Each house has 16 rooms and each of them has accommodation facility for four people.

The water level in Cox’s Bazar is declining day by day due to more than 11 lakh Rohingyas. But Bhasan Char has a system of groundwater and ponds, lakes and canals in accordance with UNHCR standards.

While Cox’s Bazar has a toilet for 20 people and a bathroom for 60 people, Bhasan Char has a toilet for 11 people and a bathroom for 16 people.

The food storage and supply system are also much better in Bhasan Char than in Cox’s Bazar. Most areas of the Rohingya camp in Cox’s Bazar are dark, Bhasan Char has diesel generators and solar power systems.

In a word, there is more security and facilities for Rohingyas in Bhasan Char of Noakhali than in Cox's Bazar.

Residential buildings, markets, hospitals, clinics, police stations, offices and shelter houses have been constructed in Bhasan Char. Besides, there are various ways of making livelihood. There is 120 such shelter houses in Bhasan Char. These shelter houses will not be affected even by storms of 260km speed. A total of 1,000 people and 200 cattle can take shelter in these shelter houses.

The  Bangladesh government and the UN on Saturday signed the deal, ending a long wait for a much-sought UN engagement at Bhasan Char on the humanitarian response to support the forcible displaced Myanmar nationals.

At the signing ceremony, State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief, Dr Md Enamur Rahman said from December 3, 2020 to April 4, 2021, some 18,846 displaced Rohingyas  from 4,724 families were relocated to Bhasan Char.

“Another 80,000 forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals (FDMN) will be relocated to Bhasan Char in next three months” he added.