The struggle of Rohingyas, who recently entered Bangladesh fleeing persecution in Myanmar, to find a shelter became more difficult as the government started removing makeshift huts built to provide them with temporary shelter.
At least 200 Rohungya families were evicted from the huts built of bamboo, corrugated iron sheet or nylon sheet near the makeshift settlement camp at Leda of Teknaf in Cox’s Bazar on December 22.
The huts were built along the road or on land owned by locals as the settlement camp could not accommodate the refugee influx that had been continuing for almost two months and a half. At least 100 new Rohingya refugees crossed into Bangladesh from Myanmar on Friday.
‘The evicted families are now living under the open sky,’ Rohingya leader Mohammad Ilias said over phone.
‘We don’t know what we should do at this moment to help the newcomers continue to increase in number every day,’ said Ilias.
According to him, a joint team of police and Border Guard Bangladesh carried out the eviction drive on December 22.
Border Guard Bangladesh second-in-command in Teknaf Abu Russell Siddiqui said that they brought the matter of illegally building the huts to the notice of authorities concerned on December 22. He declined to comment on the eviction drive.
The settlement camp at Leda was one of the three makeshift refugee camps at Teknaf where many of the fresh refugees fleeing persecution by Myanmar military took shelter. There were 20,000 refugees already living in the camp before the fresh Rohingya influx began in early October.
By the end of November, about 5,000 fresh refugees entered the camp. Refugees who crossed into the country in December found the camp filled to the brim with the new arrivals. Makeshift huts sprouted around the camp at the end of the first week of December.
An estimated 33,000 refugees had entered the country fleeing Myanmar military crackdown launched following the murder of nine security personnel on October 9 in northern Rakhine state’s Maungdaw district.
The fresh refugees, mostly women and children, continued to suffer from lack of shelter, food and treatment after entering Bangladesh as the government refused to allow philanthropists to distribute relief on the field.
A recent visit to the field found many of the fresh refugees engaged in begging. Local people complained about many refugees getting spread across the area in search of shelter and food.
‘I am begging as I need money to get a place for my family to live,’ said Nur Kalam, 32, who entered Bangladesh in mid-December. -new age