Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has highlighted her government’s resolve to provide shelter, food and medicine for the distressed Rohingya people by saying the citizens of the country would eat one meal a day and share another meal with them if necessary.
The premier made the pledge during a meeting of the Awami League’s US branch leaders at the Ritz Carlton hotel in Washington, DC on Sunday evening.
“If we can feed 160,000,000 people we can also feed an additional 500,000 to 700,000 people at their time of distress,” Sheikh Hasina said.
“If necessary, we will eat one meal a day and share another meal with these distressed people. After all, we are human beings and we stand for mankind.”
Sheikh Hasina visited the Rohingya refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar before flying to New York to attend the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly.
She narrated the horrifying stories she heard from the fleeing women and children from the Rakhine State of Myanmar.
The premier said the hapless Rohingya people who have fled to Bangladesh will be transferred from Cox’s Bazar to new accommodation being built on Bhasan Char.
“The civil administration, army, navy and air force, BGB, police and her party volunteers are working hard to mitigate the sufferings of these people,” Sheikh Hasina said. “Without waiting for any external assistance, we have made arrangements for accommodation, food and medicine.”
Sheikh Hasina said she had already authorised Tk5 crore as initial funding in this regard. She said the international community was amazed to see the generosity of accepting such a huge number of people by the Bangladesh government.
“We are not that rich but we have the heart. They are human beings (and) we cannot throw out them into the Bay of Bengal,” the premier said.
Separately at Sunday’s meeting, the prime minister said her government has launched a vigorous campaign against terrorism, militancy and abuse of drugs.
“The law enforcers and intelligence agencies of Bangladesh are working in close cooperation to eradicate these menaces,” she said.
The prime minister said she had held video conferences to motivate parents, teachers, imams of mosques and people from different walks of life to teach and motivate the young generation so they stay away from this wrong path.
“People have now become conscious against terrorism, extremism and drugs,” she said.
To encourage education at the grassroots, the premier said financial incentives are being given to 13 million mothers of primary students to continue their education.
“The government is also providing scholarship to students for higher education,” she said.
The government is also establishing 100 economic zones wherein expatriate Bangladeshis can make an investment.
Later, the prime minister unveiled a bust of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at the Bangladesh Embassy in Washington, DC through videoconferencing from her place of residence.
Famous sculptor Stephen Weitzman built the bust made of bronze.
Bangladesh Ambassador to the US Mohammad Ziauddin and officials of the embassy were present.