Bangladesh to build camp for huge influx of Rohingya
BANGKOK – Bangladesh, facing an unprecedented influx of ethnic Rohingya, plans to build a vast camp to house about 400,000 refugees who have poured into the country during the past three weeks.
The new settlements will be built within the next 10 days on 2,000 acres in the Cox’s Bazar district near Bangladesh’s border with Myanmar, officials have said.
Officials plan to construct 14,000 shelters, each with the capacity to hold six families, with the help of international aid organizations and the Bangladesh military.
Poor and overpopulated, Bangladesh is no haven for the Rohingya, a long-persecuted Muslim minority from Buddhist-majority Myanmar. Camps were already overflowing with at least 400,000 Rohingya before the current exodus was provoked by Rohingya militants’ attacking Myanmar police posts and an army base on Aug. 25. a campaign of village torchings, extrajudicial killings and gang rape, according to survivors and international rights groups. Witnesses and rights organizations have also accused the military of using helicopters to unleash a scorched-earth campaign, burning Rohingya villages.
The United Nations described the actions against the Rohingya as a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”
With a record number of Rohingya fleeing over the border into Bangladesh, arrivals have been forced to line the streets of local villages, begging for food and water, and the current settlements have reached capacity.
The government said restrictions would be placed on any inhabitants of the planned settlement. Rohingya will also be barred from traveling by vehicle in Bangladesh, and only those registered as refugees will qualify for official assistance.
“The Rohingya refugees won’t be allowed to go outside the camp,” Asaduzzaman Khan, the Bangladeshi minister of home affairs, said last Sunday.