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11 October, 2017 12:34:03 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 11 October, 2017 12:00:50 PM
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‘Preparations on for larger influx’

11,000 enter on Monday; Dhaka seeks UN support for permanent solution
DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT
‘Preparations on for larger influx’
Workers from Myanmar repair a barb wire fence along the Myanmar-Bangladesh border as seen from Tombru in the Bangladeshi district of Bandarban yesterday. Several thousand Rohingya fleeing violence in Myanmar surged into Bangladesh officials said, with reports of children dying from hunger, exhaustion and fever among the latest wave of refugees. AFP photo

Preparations are underway in Cox’s Bazar for a larger influx of Rohingya Muslims from Rakhine State to escape the ongoing atrocities orchestrated by the Myanmar security forces. “UNHCR is working with the Bangladesh authorities on a transit centre to prepare for a potential refugee influx in the coming days. This is in view of yesterday’s sudden increase in people arriving from Myanmar,” Adrian Edwards, spokesperson of the UN Refugee Agency, told a press briefing in Geneva yesterday.

 

Quoting Bangladesh border guards, he said more than 11,000 Rohingya refugees crossed by land into south-eastern Bangladesh through several points on Monday, according to the UNHCR website.

UNHCR sources said that many of the new refugees came from the Buthidaung area in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine State. Buthidaung town is some 25 kilometres east of Maungdaw. Some said they had fled torching and killings back home; one boy was seen with a big gash across his neck. Others said they left in fear ahead of anticipated violence.

“To reach Bangladesh, they walked for up to 14 days. Many were carrying children and baskets containing whatever they could pack at short notice. They waded through marshland before swimming across the Naf River that divides the two countries. Many women and children could not swim and had to ride piggyback on volunteer swimmers. Some used

inflated plastic bags and UNHCR tarpaulins as makeshift flotation devices,” reads the UNHCR website.

The new arrivals have now been moved away from the border areas into established camps and settlements in Kutupalong and Balukhali areas. UNHCR has trucked in plastic sheets and jerry cans for water.

“We are also coordinating with the government and partners to provide urgent services – food, water and healthcare – to these new refugees,” said the UNHCR spokesperson.

To prepare for possible further new arrivals, UNHCR’s government counterpart, the Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commission (RRRC), has agreed to set up small first aid stations at entry points to provide water and attention for major medical emergencies among the fresh arrivals.

In addition, the RRRC has allocated land to set up a transit centre in the Kutupalong extension site. It will lead preparedness activities with the UNHCR in coordination with partners including WFP, UNICEF, IOM, WHO, ICRC and ACF. Basic assistance will also be provided at the entry points.

BSS adds: Finance Minister AMA Muhith has sought utmost cooperation of United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guteress for constitution of a safe zone in line with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s proposal for a quick and permanent solution to Rohingya crisis.

The finance minister made the call when he met the UN chief at the UN headquarters in New York on Monday, said a press release of Bangladesh’s permanent mission to the United Nations.

Muhith also invited Antonio Guteress to visit Bangladesh as soon as possible.

During the meeting, the UN chief highly appreciated Bangladesh for sheltering Rohingya and thanked Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, her government and the people of Bangladesh for the humanitarian effort.

Antonio Guteress said he has been observing the Rohingya issue closely and told the finance minister that he is highly impressed with the humanitarian assistance Bangladesh has been extending for a long time despite being an overpopulated country.

He assured the finance minister of extending the highest cooperation from the UN in this regard and said that the UN is doing all what is necessary for a solution to the problem.

Antonio Guteress also mentioned his talks with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on the matter during the recently concluded 72nd session of the UN General Assembly.

He also told the finance minister that the UN would continue to play a role in assisting Bangladesh and other countries for facing the adverse impact of climate change.

Muhith described the UN reform programmes as a timely initiative and requested the UN secretary general to take steps so that the reforms can help least developed countries achieve progress.

The finance minister expected that the UN would play its highest role to ensure financial and other assistance for the countries, including Bangladesh, which is on the way of graduating to the next step from the LDCs.

Making a short focus on the Bangladesh’s development trend, Muhith said Bangladesh had been working to formulate a plan and implement it before formal declaration of SDGs that has taken Bangladesh a step ahead in facing the challenges of the SDGs.

In the world, Bangladesh has set up an example in eliminating poverty through implementing different programmes under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Muhith added.

Bangladesh’s permanent representative to the UN and ambassador Masud Bin Momen, Economic Relations Division secretary Kazi Shafiul Azam, Planning Commission member Shamsul Alam and economic minister of Bangladesh mission Iqbal Abdullah Harun were present at the meeting, among others.

Muhith also separately met UNDP administrator Achim Stainer and UN Under Secretary General and chief of the UN Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS) Fekitamoeloa Katoa.

MK

 

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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.

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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