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2,000 more Rohingyas reach Bhashan Char

  • Published at 10:11 am February 15th, 2021
ROhingya_Bhashan CHar
Rohingyas seen standing in line before boarding on a ship at Chittagong Boat Club to travel to Bhashan Char on Monday, February 15, 2021 Focus Bangla

1,700 more Rohingyas are likely to be relocated to the island in the Bay of Bengal on Tuesday

Some 2,010 more Rohingyas have arrived at Bhashan Char in Noakhali from the camps in Cox's Bazar in the fourth phase of the relocation process.

The persecuted Myanmar citizens reached the island in the Bay of Bengal on Monday afternoon, Additional Commissioner for Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commission (RRRC) Mohammad Shamsud Douza told the Dhaka Tribune. 

Earlier, ships of the Bangladesh Navy carrying the Rohingyas left the Chittagong Boat Club jetty in the port city's Patenga area around 10am, said National Security Intelligence (NSI) officials.

The Rohingyas, who have volunteered to be relocated to Bhashan Char developed by the Bangladesh Navy at a cost of Tk3,100 crore, were brought to Chittagong from Ukhiya in Cox's Bazar on Sunday. 

At night, they stayed at a transit camp set up on the premises of BAF Shaheen College in Patenga.

On Monday morning, some 13 buses carried them to the Chittagong Boat Club.

NSI officials said 1,700 more Rohingyas are likely to sail for the island on Tuesday.

In the third phase, more than 3,200 Rohingyas were relocated to Bhashan Char in two days - January 29 and 30.

File photo: Bangladesh Navy personnel help a disabled Rohingya refugee child to get off from a navy vessel as they arrive at the Bhashan Char island in Noakhali, Bangladesh, December 29, 2020 | Reuters

In the first two phases – December 4 and 29 – some 3,446 Rohingyas were relocated to the Noakhali island.

Buoyed by the success of the first, second, and third relocation, the government is continuing its effort to relocate some 100,000 Rohingyas to Bhashan Char in phases to provide them with a better living place. 

The government has dismissed safety concerns over the island, citing the building of flood defences and other infrastructures. 

It also says overcrowding in refugee camps fuels crime.

Also Read - 4th batch of Rohingyas leave Ukhiya for Bhashan Char

Located 34km from the mainland, the island under Hatiya upazila of Noakhali surfaced 20 years ago and was never inhabited.

Contractors say its infrastructure is like a modern township, with multi-family concrete homes, schools, playgrounds, and roads. It also has solar power facilities, a water supply system, and cyclone shelters.

Bangladesh is now hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas in Cox's Bazar district. 

Most of them entered Bangladesh since August 25, 2017, amid a military crackdown on Rohingyas in the Rakhine state of Myanmar, which the UN called a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing" and other rights groups dubbed as "genocide."

Bangladesh has called on Myanmar to move forward the stalled process of voluntary repatriation of Rohingya refugees, as international pressure mounts on the military leaders following a coup, which reduces the refugees' hopes of returning home.