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Rohingya refugees are struggling to get distributed food. (File Photo)
Rohingya refugees are struggling to get distributed food. (File Photo)

Bangladesh Plan for Mega Rohingya Refugee Camp Dangerous

Bangladesh Plan for Mega Rohingya Refugee Camp Dangerous

A top UN official said Saturday Bangladesh’s plan to build the world’s biggest refugee camp for 800,000-plus Rohingya Muslims was dangerous because overcrowding could heighten the risks of deadly diseases spreading quickly.
The arrival of more than half a million Rohingya refugees who have fled an army crackdown in Myanmar’s troubled Rakhine State since August 25 has put an immense strain on already packed camps in Bangladesh, AFP reported.
Hard-pressed Bangladesh authorities plan to expand a refugee camp at Kutupalong near the border town of Cox’s Bazar to accommodate all the Rohingya.
But Robert Watkins, the UN resident coordinator in Dhaka, told AFP the country should instead look for new sites to build more camps.
“When you concentrate too many people into a very small area, particularly the people who are very vulnerable to diseases, it is dangerous,” Watkins told AFP.
“There are stronger possibilities, if there are any infectious diseases that spread, that will spread very quickly,” he said, also highlighting fire risks in the camps.
“It is much easier to manage people, manage the health situation and security situation if there are a number of different camps rather than one concentrated camp.”
At the request of the Bangladesh government, the UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM) has agreed to coordinate the work of aid agencies and help build shelters at the new camp site.
According to the IOM, the proposed camp will be the world’s largest, dwarfing Bidi Bidi in Uganda and Dadaab in Kenya —both housing around 300,000 refugees.

 

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