SUBIR BHAUMIK The burning down of 9 crude oil tankers in Upper Assam points to a change in equations between rebel groups in India’s Northeast. Indian intelligence agencies now confirm that this violent action was carried by joint squads of ULFA (Independent) and NSCN (Issak-Muivah) guerrillas. But ULFA(I) is in the rebel coalition UNLFSWEA that was…
A top UN official said that 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.
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 rather advised Bangladesh to look for new sites to build more camps.
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
“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.
“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.
Three thousand acres (1,200 hectares) of land next to the existing Kutupalong camp have been set aside for the new Rohingya arrivals.
“700,000 is a big camp… we and our partners will have our work cut out for us”, Joel Millman, an IOM spokesman, told reporters in Geneva yesterday.