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ROHINGYA RELOCATION: 3RD BATCH GOES TO BHASAN CHAR ON JAN 29-30

bhasan-char

Almost 3,000 Rohingyas will be relocated to Bhasan Char by the end of this month, a top official said.

This would be the 3rd batch of the refugees to be relocated to the island.

"The relocation will take place on January 29 and 30," said the top official of Refugee, Relief and Repatriation Commissioner (RRRC), wishing not to be named.

The RRRC is undertaking the relocation process amid concerns from the international community that the island is a risky place to live.

The first batch of 1,642 Rohingyas was relocated to Bhasan Char on December 4. Over 1,800 others were relocated on December 29.

Most of the relocated refugees told reporters that living quarters on the island were way better than the congested makeshift shanties in Cox's Bazar refugee camps.

They also said they chose to move there.

Bangladesh Navy has undertaken a Tk 3,100 crore project titled the Ashrayan-3 Project on Bhasan Char for the refugees.

"More Rohingyas are becoming interested in moving to Bhasan Char for a better future. Those who arrived earlier communicated with the people in Cox's Bazar camps and maybe they are convincing others to move to Bhasan Char," Project Director Commodore Abdullah Al Mamun Chowdhury told The Daily Star yesterday.

He added that preparations have been taken for the arrival of Rohingyas.

Besides congested living conditions, frequent fights between rival gangs had made the lives of refugees even more difficult in Cox's Bazar.

After the arrival of the first and second batch of Rohingyas, many of the Rohingyas started believing that they could live a better life with greater access to healthcare, education and work.

In the Cox's Bazar camps, a family of 6-8 people live together within a 400-square foot space.

On Bhasan Char the buildings have electricity, solar panels, biogas plants, and mobile networks.

The houses have been built four feet above the ground with concrete blocks. Each building will house 16 families of four in its 16 rooms, providing more than the UN stipulated 37 square feet per person, project officials said.

The United Nations and other development partners, however, expressed concerns and demanded independent assessments of the project before the relocation.

The UN and rights groups have been questioning the relocation plan, saying the island was prone to floods and could be submerged during high tides.