The relocated Myanmar nationals hope the authorities will live up to the pledges they have made
The first batch of Rohingyas relocated to Bhashan Char Island from Cox’s Bazar on Friday appear to be satisfied with their new accommodations and other facilities provided to them.
After spending their first night on the island, several of the 1,642 Rohingyas told Dhaka Tribune on Saturday that, as far as housing is concerned, the conditions are much better than in the Cox’s Bazar camps.
They also sounded happy about the other amenities on the island, developed by Bangladesh Navy at a cost of about Tk 3,100 crore.
“So far so food… There have been no complaints. We are trying to make their stay comfortable. Hopefully, things will continue like this,” Commodore AA Mamun Chowdhury, project director of Ashrayan -3 Project (the official name of the Bhashan Char project), told this correspondent.
He also said: “Within a day or two, we will make sure that the relocated people can cook their own meals as they have issues with the supplied meals. They have their own taste.”
Earlier, it had been decided that the new residents of the island would be provided with prepared meals for 5-7 days.
Although the relocated Rohingyas are seemingly happy with their new address, they are cautious about the pledges the authorities made to them by before they came to the island.
“We were promised that we will be able to engage in different income-generating activities. We hope the government will live up to its pledges,” said one of the new residents of the island.
According to some of them, the authorities have promised jobs in different sectors such as agriculture, fisheries and livestock, and carpentry.
They are also hopeful about the education of their children.
RRRC responsible for looking after Rohingyas on Bhashan Char
The Cox’s Bazar-based office of the Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner (RRRC) under the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief will oversee the looking after of the Rohingyas relocated to Bhashan Char.
“Yes, it has been decided that, like in Cox’s Bazar, the responsibility to look after the Rohingyas in Bhashan Char has been vested on the RRRC,” a senior official concerned told Dhaka Tribune.
Earlier, there was an issue over which entity of the government would be in charge of the Rohingyas on the island. One of the candidates was the district administration of Noakhali, as the island is situated in its territory. Bangladesh Navy also said they could do the job.
NGOs in Bhashan Char
A total 23 Bangladeshi NGOs have already started working for the Rohingyas on Bhashan Char.
At a press briefing on Saturday morning, representatives of the NGOs said that they have already stockpiled the food, medicine and other essentials for three months and there should not be any problem with regard to supply of essential services.
In the coming days, the NGOs will continue providing the Rohingyas with services such as food, health, education and livelihoods.
The NGOs will operate as they do in Cox’s Bazar, they said, adding that they are prepared to provide services for 100,000 Rohingyas.
Saiful Islam Chowdhury Kalim, the executive director of Pulse Bangladesh and chief of the newly formed NGO Alliance in Bhashan Char, told Dhaka Tribune they are currently spending their own money to look after the Rohingyas and they will seek assistance from international donors in the days ahead.