Tuesday, January 22, 2019 | ePaper

Experts call for global responsibility

Mass exodus of Rohingyas poses high degree of challenge for Bangladesh

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Kazi Zahidul Hasan :
Bangladesh is facing daunting challenge to tackle the Rohingya refugee crisis due to resource stinginess and insufficient aid from international community, said experts.
They said, the crisis is growing day by day, with refugees living open without food, safe water, sanitation and medical care, sending the authorities in frenzy.
The International Rescue Committee on Thursday said that almost half a million refugees have arrived in Bangladesh in recent weeks fleeing violence in Myanmar and the number of refugees could exceed one million, the fastest mass exodus it has seen since Rwanda.
 "The mass exodus of Rohingyas poses a high degree of challenge for the Bangladesh authorities. Now they're in dilemma to respond                
to this huge challenge," Dr Tasneem Siddiqui, the founding Chair of the Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU), University of Dhaka, told The New Nation on Friday.
She added the magnitude of the challenge is daunting and Bangladesh alone can merely ease the plight of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya people who arrived in Bangladesh following a bloody military crackdown in Myanmar's Rakhine State.
 "Bangladesh is not a resourceful country that can feed and shelter such a huge number of refugees. The world community must share their responsibility standing besides Bangladesh," said Dr Tasneem Siddiqui.
She said the Burmese authorities are pursuing a "genocidal policy" against the Rohingyas forcing them to take refuge in Bangladesh. "It's the responsibility of the international community to provide shelter to Rohingyas fleeing persecution at home," she added.
Dr Tasneem Siddiqui also called for global pressure at the highest levels on Myanmar to cease all violations of human rights and military crackdown in Rakhine State.    
 "The global community should also play a major role in influencing Myanmar to make the atmosphere conducive for the dignified return of the refugees," she added.
Rohingyas have been arriving in Bangladesh "en masse" since August 25. Most Rohingya refugees reaching Bangladesh have sought shelter in Cox's Bazar district, setting up camps wherever possible in the difficult terrain and with little access to aid, safe drinking water, food, shelter and healthcare.
 "Providing emergency humanitarian assistance remains a big challenge for the authorities as well as aid agencies. They are struggling to cope up with the situation due to poor access roads and inadequate relief material," an aid worker stationed in Cox's Bazar told The New Nation yesterday, asking not to be named.
He said Bangladesh authorities are sincere to respond to the distressed refugees. But they could not reach all the refuges due to shortage of manpower, lack of funds and inadequate relief materials.
 "Half a million more Rohingya people have crossed over to Bangladesh since August. This unprecedented number of refugees arriving in a very short space of time has sent the authorities towards a difficult situation. They did not face such a situation before and for this why they are in disarray to respond to the crisis," Dr CR Abrar, a migration expert, told The New Nation yesterday.
He, however, said, the task to accommodate all the refugees, with food and shelter, is very difficult for Bangladesh if it does not get support from the global communities.
 "A longer than expected stay of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh could further aggravate the situation," he said.  
Dr CR Abrar, also a Professor of International Relationship of Dhaka University, called for an early solution of the Rohingya crisis involving powerful nations and regional neighbours, including India and China.

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