Sunday, July 6, 2008

Burmese Refugees Moved to Better Camps in Bangladesh

Dhaka: Burmese Muslim refugees, known as Rohingya, who have been staying in a makeshift camp outside of Teknaf in Bangladesh, began moving to a new refugee camp on Wednesday, in hopes of a better living standard, reported one resident from the camp.

He said, "The program to move Burmese refugees from the makeshift camp to the new camp started on Wednesday and the process is still going on. On the first day, 275 refugee families had to move, and over 150 families moved to the new camp yesterday."

There are 1,900 families and about 7,500 individual refugees who have been living at the makeshift camp for years without legal status after seeking refuge on Bangladesh soil.

According to refugee sources, the living standard of the refugees at the makeshift camp has been very poor, and food and clean drinking water was scarce. The camp is situated along the highway close to the Naff River, where the refugees lived packed into shelters constructed from wood and small pieces of plastic.

The refugee said, "I think the new camp is better than the previous makeshift camps, and there are a few facilities for refugees, including homes, food, and drinking water. We also received a ration book issued by the UNHCR for food, including rice, sugar, and cooking oil, for when we arrive at the new refugee camp."

In the makeshift camp many refugees were recently suffering with diarrhea, and at least three individuals died from the treatable disease.

At present there are around 26,000 refugees at two UNHCR refugee camps, Kutapalong and Nayapara. There were an estimated 7,500 refugees unrecognized by the UNHCR that were living in the makeshift camp.

The camp residents, however, will be given recognition as refugees by the UNHCR as they arrive at the new refugee camp located in Nila Township between Cox's Bazar and Teknaf Highway.

--Source: Narinjara News

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