Construction of 14,000 additional shelters for Rohingyas began today at Kutupalang of Cox’s Bazar with officials saying the makeshift shelters could house 5,60,000 refugees who fled their home in Myanmar to evade atrocities.
Officials familiar with the process said armed forces were tasked to build the shelters in 10 days with assistance of the UN organizations and international aid agencies as surges of displaced Myanmar nationals continued to hit the southeastern district and adjacent areas.
They said shelters would be erected on temporary basis while each of them could accommodate six families or 40 people.
“The prime objective of the initiative is to prevent the refugees from fanning out elsewhere and handle the crisis properly,” disaster management and relief ministry secretary Shah Kamal told BSS.
He said the ministry would oversee the construction of shelters to be erected under direct military supervision with assistance from UN’s refugee agency UNHCR and migration agency IOM with supports of the district administration and government departments.
The government earlier last week allocated 2,000 acres of land at Kutupalong for new arrival of refugees who continued to flee their home in Myanmar’s Rakhine state to evade atrocities since the outbreak of violence since August 14.
The development came two days after a high level meeting at the Prime Minister’s office reviewed plans and works for handling the crisis.
Premier’s principal secretary Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury conveyed officials concerned at the meeting Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s directives to ensure coordination among government agencies and the foreign organizations.
Officials concerned said the meeting decided that the UN’s food agency WFP would construct 14 makeshift warehouses near the new shelters to preserve and store relief materials while army would receive the relief consignments and transport the materials to the designated warehouses.
They said all relief goods from NGOs, different organisations and individuals must be handed over to Cox’s Bazar’s deputy commissioner and the district administration would make necessary arrangements for their proper distribution.
“NGOs must take permission from the NGO Affairs Bureau for relief works,” an official familiar with the process said.
The UN agencies estimated over 400,000 Rohingyas crossed into Bangladesh since the violence at their home in Rakhine began on August 25 while the 14,000 shelters are meant for their accommodation.
The violence erupted while Bangladesh was already extended refuge to 400,000 others who fled their home earlier to evade persecution.
The UN officials, however, said the number of new arrival of refugees could stand at 10,00,000 as surges of fleeing people continued to hit Bangladesh.