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8 March, 2018 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 8 March, 2018 01:48:50 AM
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Rohingya shelters

RRRC seeks more land

Deepak Acharjee
RRRC seeks more land

The commissioner of the Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commission (RRRC) has urged the Bangladesh government to allocate 1,000-acre more to protect the Rohingya refugees from elements and wild elephants in the hilly areas of Kutupalong-Balukhali in Cox's Bazar.

He has recently made this appeal by sending a letter to the cabinet secretary. In the letter, the RRRC commissioner, Mohammad Abul Kalam, said that proper shelters must be built for the Rohingyas to keep them safe from cyclones during the rainy season, according to government sources.

“More than 10 lakh Rohingyas have built temporary shelters at different places, including the slope of the hills at Ukhiya and Teknaf under Cox’s Bazar, from August 25, last year. Among them, at least two lakh Rohingyas are staying in places having a high risk of landslides and cyclones during heavy rainfall or earthquakes,” he added. He apprehended that those who have taken shelter in the hills are under the threat of landslides during the upcoming rainy season.

On February 23, a Rohingya boy was killed by a landslide when he was playing in a hill, he mentioned in his report.

In the letter, the RRRC commissioner also mentioned that they have accommodated the Rohingyas on 3,500 acres in Kutupalong and Balukhali areas, where barriers are being erected to keep off wild elephants. “So far, 13 people, including 12 Rohingyas, have been killed in five attacks by wild elephants,” he said.

“In this context, at least 1.50 lakh Rohingyas should be shifted to other places. The allocation of 1,000 more acres can save their lives from various incidents that may take place in the near future,” he added. Referring to the advice of the residential representative of  the United Nations (UN), Kalam said that at least one lakh Rohingyas are under high risk of landslides and other incidents and should be shifted immediately.

The RRRC commissioner told The Independent that he has already sent letters to the secretary of the disaster management and relief ministry, the cabinet secretary and the principal secretary to the Prime Minister, advising them to allocate 1,000 acres for shifting the refugees before the onset of the rainy season.

“But we're yet to get any response from the higher authorities,” he said.

A UN report say that more than 100,000 Rohingya refugees, huddled in muddy camps in Bangladesh, will be in grave danger from landslides once the mid-year rainy season begins. “A high percentage of the land is unsuitable for human settlement as risks of flooding and landslides are high and are further aggravated by the congestion and extensive terracing of the hills,” it adds.

“Humanitarian partners are now building necessary infrastructure in challenging conditions, with extremely limited space,” the report states.

More than 100 hills are being used by the refugees for temporary accommodation in Kutipalong, Palingkhali, Unchipara and other locations along the borders of Bangladesh and Myanmar.

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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