Bangladesh troops to de­liver aid to refugees

New Straits Times - - World -

COX’S BAZAR: Bangladesh will use troops to de­liver for­eign aid to the bor­der town that has been over­whelmed by Ro­hingya Mus­lim refugees from Myan­mar, author­i­ties an­nounced.

The move fol­lowed crit­i­cism of the chaotic con­di­tions in which re­lief sup­plies had been handed out at the huge camps here, where about 389,000 Ro­hingya from Myan­mar’s Rakhine State had ar­rived since Aug 25.

Prime Min­is­ter Sheikh Hasina told Par­lia­ment on Thurs­day that the army would han­dle re­lief aid that sev­eral na­tions had sent.

“I have given the army re­spon­si­bil­ity to make sure the re­lief goods prop­erly reach them (Ro­hingya) and over­see what’s in the re­lief ma­te­ri­als,” she said.

Ini­tially, the army will be re­spon­si­ble for tak­ing the aid to Cox’s Bazar.

“We’ve got the di­rec­tive that the army would re­ceive re­lief ma­te­ri­als sent by for­eign na­tions at the air­port and take it to Cox’s Bazar,” Lieu­tenant-Colonel Rashidul Hasan said yes­ter­day.

It was not clear whether there would be a change in the way aid was dis­trib­uted at the camps.

Re­lief work­ers were strug­gling to cope with the huge num­bers, with 10,000 to 20,000 peo­ple cross­ing the bor­der each day.

The United Na­tions had warned of a looming “worst case sce­nario” with all of the Mus­lim mi­nor­ity group try­ing to leave Bud­dhist-dom­i­nated Myan­mar’s Rakhine State, where a mil­i­tary crack­down was launched on Aug 25. AFP

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