Friday, June 14, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

No signboards to direct Rohingya to refugee camps

Update : 11 Sep 2017, 10:16 PM
The latest wave of violence in the Rakhine state of Myanmar has driven around 300,000 Rohingya to Bangladesh since August 25, while an estimated 200,000 more are believed to be waiting to cross the border. The refugees are coming to Bangladesh to seek shelter from targeted violence and persecution, and many have serious medical needs. Once the Rohingya manage to enter Bangladesh after hazardous journeys sometimes lasting several days, they face a different challenge. They do not know where to find food and shelter or the way to the refugee camps as there are no signboards indicating the way. Experts in refugee crisis told the Dhaka Tribune that, in such a situation, the country providing shelter should put up signs. However, none were seen at Teknaf, from where thousands of Rohingya are crossing into Bangladesh. Ashfaq Chowdhury, a volunteer, told the Dhaka Tribune that many volunteer teams were providing the Rohingya food, medicine, water and clothing in Teknaf. “They can easily find help if the government or the NGOs set up arrow signs in the Rohingya language,” he said. Teknaf’s UNO Zahid Hossain Siddique told the Dhaka Tribune that they had not received any order from the government to install signs. “Locals tell them where they can find refugee camps, medical assistance or food and water. But they do not understand our language,” Zahid said, adding that roadside signboards would be a big help for the new arrivals. Experts say efforts to help the refugees should be coordinated centrally to ensure everyone gets assistance. More 200,000 Rohingya are staying beside roads. Many said they had eaten very little in the last two weeks and were having to defecate in the open. The Rohingya are in dire need of humanitarian and medical aid but NGOs and locals said the refugees were getting little to none of the medical assistance they required. Action Against Hunger’s Country Director Nipin Gangadharan told the Dhaka Tribune that the Rohingya need shelter. “Thousands of Rohingya, staying in the open in rain, are suffering from various diseases while a lack of safe drinking water is causing water-borne diseases,” he said. Gonoshasthaya Kendra’s Coordinator Manzur Kabir Ahmed, working in Teknaf since September 4, said “hundreds of thousands” of the refugees were hungry and sick. “They need sanitation and safe drinking water to save their lives,” he said. Bangladesh is hosting an estimated 400,000 Rohingya in addition to the 75,000 who arrived after last October’s violence in the Rakhine.
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