Relief for Rohingya; Some recommendations
Ali Ahmed
26 Sep,2017

It becomes several months now since Rohingya people have been fleeing to Bangladesh in groups as Myanmar army carried out atrocities on them in the country's Rakhine state. Under this circumstance, Bangladesh government has temporarily given shelter to several lakh Rohingyas in Cox's Bazar on humanitarian grounds.

At the same time, the government has provided them with relief goods and necessary things since the last week of August. Bangladesh Army also started their assistance from the end of last week in order to make coordination in this relief process. Apart from the government, numerous peoples actually rushed into the Rohingya crowded area of Teknaf, Ukhia and different other places of Cox’s Bazar district to take stand by the side of these oppressed Rohingya peoples. Bangladesh has achieved international acclamation for the country's tremendous contribution to sheltering Rohingyas. To keep up this contribution is very important for us.

According to media reports, there was chaos in ensuring shelter and security to several lakh Rohingyas and distributing relief materials among them. Relief materials are not being distributed there in a systemic way. Those who are distributing relief goods among them are not following a system, leading to chaos. There are reports of throwing relief materials from trucks. Some dishonest people are snatching valuable assets from the possession of Rohingya refugees. There are also reports that relief materials are not being distributed equally. So it is necessary to be aware of relief collection and distribution. Otherwise, it will be tough to tackle the situation.

It is to be mentioned that the government has taken various steps to bring an order in distributing relief materials among the Rohingya refugees. After receiving the relief goods coming from foreign countries, Bangladesh army are playing their role to distribute them among the Rohingya refugees. Local district administration has also introduced a special branch for relief distribution. In a bid to ensure smooth relief distribution, the district administration has taken an initiative to introduce 12 centres for relief distribution which will be supervised by executive magistrates. We expect that this initiative will be helpful to handle the situation.

It will be possible to avoid untoward incidents if a systematic way is followed for relief distribution. If all the people and organisations bringing relief goods for Rohingyas submit their materials to the district administration, it will be easy to avoid chaos. The district administration should be careful so that no corruption happens during the relief distribution. But this needs cooperation from all concerned quarters.

Another concern is that Rohingya refugees are spreading across the country. According to media reports, law enforcers have recovered some Rohingyas from Manikganj, Sunamganj and other parts of the country and sent them to temporary shelter camps in Cox's Bazar. There are media reports that Rohingya refugees have spread to Chittagong and its adjacent districts. Police administration has warned the Rohingya refugees of their movement. They have been asked to stay at the temporary shelter camps in Cox's Bazar. The administration will have to initiate an investigation to know how the Rohingya refugees moved to Manikganj, Sunamganj and other parts of the country.

Police have asked the drivers of different vehicles not to take the Rohingyas in their vehicles with an aim to resist their spreading elsewhere in the country. Besides, house owners have been asked not to rent out their houses or flats to Rohingya refugees. Police administration alongside the general people should be aware so that no individual or group can create any chaotic situation taking the advantage of Rohingya crisis.

The local administration has set up 17 check posts in greater Chittagong and Chittagong Hill Tracks aiming at resisting the spreading of Rohingya refugees. The government has taken a move to register all the Rohingyas now sheltered in Bangladesh and it should be completed soon. The authorities concerned should be careful so that brokers, cheaters and extremist groups cannot get in touch with Rohingyas. Intelligence surveillance should be strengthened in the area if needed.