The structural integrity in Bhashan Char may have saved some lives, and may save more in the future
From the start, the international community has been critical of the Bhashan Char project to shelter the Rohingya. However, as the aftermath of the recent flooding has shown, Bhashan Char is a much safer home for the Rohingya than the current makeshift camps at Cox’s Bazar, and indeed, objectively it offers a much higher standard of living.
At the Rohingya camps, at least six people were killed and 12,000 were affected, while at Bhashan Char, the floods did not reach the people at all, in spite of early fears that the island may be susceptible to flood. While there are, no doubt, challenges, and this single event is not a guarantee that Bhashan Char will not face problems in the future, it is clear that a vast improvement has been made in the face of a daunting scenario, and for that our government deserves kudos.
In the long-run, of course, the Rohingyas should be repatriated back to their homeland in Rakhine, and so a place like Bhashan Char is only an intermediate step before that goal can be achieved. However, due to political uncertainties, it is not clear when that will happen, so it makes sense, in the meantime, to give the Rohingya as good a living arrangement here in Bangladesh as possible.
Bangladesh is a flood-prone country -- this fact comes as a surprise to no one. The makeshift camps in Ukhiya, made of bamboo and tarpaulin, are hardly fit for the kind of monsoons we routinely get. The structural integrity in Bhashan Char may have saved some lives, and may save more in the future. This is, therefore, a project that should be encouraged and praised, not vilified.