Dhaka – Nearly 9,000 Rohingya Muslims are now living in an offshore island developed by Bangladesh in the Bay of Bengal, braving the aid agencies’ fear that the silt island was yet habitable.
Some 2,010 Rohingya men women and children reached Bashan Char, the island located nearly 35 kilometers away from the mainland, by five navy ships on Monday, officials said.
It was the fourth group of refugees who volunteered to go to the island where Bangladeshi government has prepared accommodation of nearly 100,000 people as part of the relocation of the Rohingya from the crowded camps in Cox’s Bazar.
Bangladesh has been hosting more than 1 million Rohingya Muslims who fled violence in Buddhist-majority Myanmar. Nearly 750,000 of them crossed the border after Myanmar launched a military crackdown on the minority group in 2017.
Mohammad Shamsud Douza, the additional chief of Bangladesh’s Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commission, said the refugees reached the island in the afternoon. They will live in villages developed by Bangladesh Navy.
All of them were taken to the island after they expressed willingness to live in the new settlement.
The South Asian country invested almost 350 million dollars to build infrastructure for the refugees’ temporary accommodation on the 13 square-kilometer island, including flood protection embankments, villages, hospitals, cyclone shelters and mosques.
The third batch of refugees was moved to the island on January 29 and 30. More than 3,000 Rohingya were taken to the island at that time. In the second group, some 1,788 people on December 29, 2020 and in the first batch, 1,658 people reached the island on December 4.
In addition, nearly 300 Rohingya Muslims were taken to the island after they were rescued in the Bay of Bengal in April 2020.
|1st batch||December 4, 2020||1658|
|2nd batch||December 29, 2020||1788|
|3rd batch||January 29, 2021||1,778|
|3r batch||January 30, 2021||1,464|
|4th batch||February 15, 2021||2,010|
|Rescued from sea||In April 2020||382 (BBC)|