Chaos reigns in Bangladesh as Rohingya exodus set to reach 1 million by end-2017

Chaos reigns in Bangladesh as Rohingya exodus set to reach 1 million by end-2017

Independent volunteers throwing bottles of water to Rohingya refugees from a truck. (Photo: Lam Shushan) 

KUTUPALONG REFUGEE CAMP, Bangladesh: Along the 20km-long stretch between Bangladesh's Shah Pori Dwip to Cox's Bazar, villages were overrun with makeshift refugee camps. 

Almost 400,000 Rohingya refugees have settled in the area, which runs along the border to Myanmar's Rakhine state. 

And if the influx continues at the current rate, this figure is expected to rise by the end of 2017, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). 

Another makeshift camp that was constructed recently. (Photo: Lam Shushan) 

Several media outlets reported on Thursday (Sep 14) that senior officials from both the IOM and UNHCR said Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh will cross the million mark before 2018.

But in the current situation, Bangladesh is already struggling to cope with the numbers. 

Clothes not wanted by refugees was left all over the streets near the makeshift camps. (Photo: Lam Shushan) 

In the village town centres, chaos reigned as new arrivals scrambled to buy plastic sheets and bamboo sticks for their tents.

Pathways were muddied with the constant movement of people in and out of the area.

Clothes not wanted by refugees was left all over the streets near the makeshift camps. (Photo: Lam Shushan) 

The Bangladeshi government has set aside 1,500 acres of land to house the Rohingyas but there are doubts as to whether this will be enough.

Small roads are the only way into these villages, but they were clogged with independent aid trucks coming through.

Independent volunteers distributing clothes, food and water to Rohingya refugees. (Photo: Lam Shushan) 

Each time a truck stopped by the side of the road, hoards of people gathered around, some with their hands stretched out while others banged on the windows. 

NO SIGN OF INTERNATIONAL AID 

There was no sign of any international aid in these makeshift camps. According to international non-governmental organisations (NGOs), it will take a while before their help will get to these makeshift campsites.  

Rohingya refugees with both minor and major ailments turn up at the medicine distribution point in Balukali. (Photo: Lam Shushan) 

Meanwhile in Balukali, a medicine distribution point for the refugees was set up by a local group sponsored by the Bangladesh National Party.

Rohinya refugees being interviewed by Channel NewsAsia. (Photo: Lam Shushan) 

However, doctors only have access to basic medicine like electrolytes, cough and flu medication, as well as paracetamol. Despite this, Rohingyas with major ailments still show up seeking treatment.  

Source: CNA/am