Bangladesh has resumed shifting Rohingya refugees to the camps in Bhasan Char island from Cox Bazaar after a months-long pause due to the Covid-19 restrictions
Bangladesh has resumed shifting Rohingya refugees to the camps in Bhasan Char island from Cox Bazaar after a months-long pause due to the Covid-19 restrictions. Currently, the isolated island has been housing around 18,000 people and will accommodate a total of 100,000-- roughly 10 percent of total refugees.
Bangladesh, which currently hosts over 1.1 million Rohingya refugees in cramped and vulnerable camps in Cox Bazaar, had built the Bhasan Char facility despite opposition from right groups and some UN agencies. The move was to decongest the Cox Bazaar camps. Later this year, after visiting the facilities, the UNHCR agreed to assist Bangladesh.
On Wednesday, the government will relocate 2000 people to the island, reported The Daily Star. By March next year, the government has planned to relocate over 80,000 people to the island, said Mohammed Mohsin, who is secretary of disaster management and relief ministry.
Recently, the government even announced building a five-star hotel in Bhasan Char for accommodating UN staff and aid agency workers.
Last month, the UNHCR has signed an agreement with the Bangladesh government, allowing for close cooperation with the government on providing services for the island's growing refugee population. The agreement would cover key areas of protection, education, skills training, livelihoods, and health. The assistance would help support the refugees to lead decent lives on the island and better prepare them for sustainable return to Myanmar in the future.
A section of people on the island had earlier complained to UNHCR about the lack of options to earn livelihood there. Through the agreement, officials believe these problems and many others would be resolved to a great extent.
Despite concerns from some groups about the safety and suitability of the island for accommodating refugees, living conditions, including safety environment, is much better in comparison to those in Cox Bazaar. Anti cyclone and flooding measures put on the island have also proved effective over the period.