Fourth grader Orpa Barua now has an explanation for when she is late to school. She has to cross a stream of traffic on the way from home to classes.
Many students and teachers of Kutupalong Government Primary School have the same complaint, that the roads are inundated here and there by crowds of Rohingya refugees throughout the day.
Transport drivers have doubled their fares as well.
These transport woes are only the tip of the problem. A medical team working with the refugees has taken over a classroom. Members of police and Ansar have lodged in two other rooms.
The relief workers are also running a free kitchen for the Rohingya at the school compound. Provisions have been stored on the ground floor while a huge shed has been set up on one side of the grounds for cooking and distributing the meals.
Orpa said: “Our classrooms are occupied. Waste is being spread everywhere. We face various other problems, including impediments when we are moving about. That is why I am late for school.”
Habibur Rahman, the head teacher of the school, said the children’s daily attendance has dropped by a great margin. “Only 40% of the students are attending the school now. It was 85-90% before the Rohingya refugees arrived.”
Provisions for the Rohingya refugees are being stored on the ground floor of Kutupalong Government Primary School in Ukhiya. Abdul Aziz/Dhaka Tribune
Kutupalong Government Primary School is one of 11 education institutions that remain largely occupied by the relief operation being carried out in Kutupalong and Balukhali refugee camps in Ukhiya.
After their arduous journey to Bangladesh, hundreds of thousands of the newly arriving Rohingya have at least managed to find some ground to sit on, if not roofs above their heads, around the two camps.
Besides the obstacles created by the presence of medical teams, units of law enforcement agencies and the operation of free kitchens from inside the school premises, pedestrian movement around the school area has largely been squeezed because of the sea of refugees encircling the educationals institutions.
Also Read - Are Myanmar’s Rohingya facing genocide or ethnic cleansing?
When contacted, Ukhiya Upazila Nirbahi Officer Subrata Kumar Dhar admitted that classes and other school activities are being hampered by the presence of the refugees surrounding the schools.
The units of aid workers and law enforcement agencies will be shifted to bring the situation back to normal, he added.