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Rohingya refugees agree to relocate to newly-built camp in Bangladesh

Refugee Commissioner of Bangladesh Mahbub Alam Talukder said on Sunday that officials will be posted to Bhashan Char island in the next few days to oversee the process.

He said government has built a three metre high embankment along its perimeter to keep out tidal surges during cyclones, and a warehouse to store months-worth of rations. Mahbub Alam said that Rohingya leaders would be taken to Bhashan Char to view the facilities and living conditions.

The Bhashan Char is an uninhabited island around 30 kilometre east of Hatiya island in the South East Bangladesh. Hatiya has a population of 6,00,000.

Bhashan Char island was formed about two decades ago on the mouth of river Meghna.

Bangladesh has built the relocation camp at Bhashan Char with a capacity to accommodate about 1lakh people in 1440 buildings constructed there at an estimated cost of Tk 2,300 crore.

Government has been keen to relocate the Rohingya refugees to the Bhashan char island. Prime Minister of Bangladesh in her visit to UN last month had said that Bangladesh government had built houses, cyclone shelters and food warehouses at  Bhashan Char island to shift Rohingyas there. She said some organizations working in Cox’s Bazar Rohingya camps don’t want these people to go back and they are trying to prevent them.

While the government planned to relocate Rohingyas, environmentalists say that the Bhashan Char falls in an ecologically fragile area prone to floods, erosion and cyclone.