Health Desk: 03 April 2018: The government has chalked out a detailed plan to avert natural disasters in Cox's Bazar Rohingya camps in the upcoming monsoon, Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque said yesterday, requesting the international community not to worry.
“With the arrival of monsoon, natural disasters like flood, landslide, and cyclone occur. Bangladesh government is aware of it. This is not something new to us. We have elaborated a plan on how to help those people. The extra land has already been allocated,” he said.
The foreign secretary also said the international assistance for Rohingyas is on the decline, which is another challenge for Bangladesh.
He came up with the comments while speaking as chief guest at an international conference titled “Rohingya Refugee Crisis: Towards Sustainable Solutions”, organized by the Centre for Genocide Studies of Dhaka University, BRAC University, and ActionAid, held at Nabab Nawab Ali Chowdhury Senate Bhaban of DU.
The UN says about 150,000 refugees in Bangladesh's southeast -- where nearly one million Rohingyas in total live in shanties on hillsides -- are extremely vulnerable to disease and disaster this rainy season.
Monsoon rains wreak havoc every year in Cox's Bazar and the adjacent Chittagong Hill Tracts, a tropical forest zone home to wild elephants.
“The Rohingya people are clearing forestland equal to four football fields every day for collecting fuelwood,” said Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner (RRRC) Mohammad Abul Kalam on March 31.
Because of the indiscriminate tree felling, the hills have become barren, increasing the risk of landslide, he said while addressing a seminar.
Bangladesh government earlier planned to shift the Rohingya people to Bhasanchar in Noakhali, but the plan is yet to be materialised as it requires around US$28 billion, according to reliable sources.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh in association with the United Nations has drafted a plan to provide support of around US$950 million to the Rohingya refugees and the vulnerable locals in Cox’s Bazar in the current year.