SHAMSUDDIN ILLIUS, Ctg and TOUFIQUL ISLAM LIPU, Cox’s Bazar
Autumn rains have become a nuisance for Rohingya refugees who have crossed over to Bangladesh to save their lives in the face of the ongoing “ethnic cleansing” in Myanmar’s Rakhine state. The torrential rain from Saturday night has submerged many makeshift huts in the registered Rohingya camps here. Thousands of Rohingyas living under the open sky at Ukhiya, Teknaf and Naikhochari, too, have been suffering. Mojibul Haque, an employee of the Cox’s Bazar Met Office, said 102 mm rainfall was recorded in the last 24 hours until 6pm yesterday (Sunday). Owing to a deep convection over the northern Bay of Bengal, the Met Office hoisted cautionary signal No. 3 at the coastal areas and maritime ports of Chittagong, Cox’s Bazar, Mongla and Payra. Some of the Rohingya refugees have spread tarpaulins over the bamboo frames of their makeshift huts. But not everyone could afford such luxury.
Many Rohingyas were seen going to the unregistered Rohingya camps on foot braving the rain, while many were waiting on the road for vehicles to reach their destinations. Some Rohingya families at Unchiprang tried to take shelter under a tarpaulin in the field of the local madrasha, but it was not strong enough to cover all of them from the lashing of rain.
Karimullah, 53, who hailed from Maungdaw, said: “We’ve reached here 10 days ago after passing five days on the way. We don’t have any money to buy bamboo to erect even makeshift shelters. Some locals gave me the tarpaulin, but it can’t save us from the rain.”
Abdus Salm, who came here from Buthidaung, were standing in the middle of the field amid heavy showers with eight members of his family. They could not manage any tarpaulin. The same scenario unveiled before the eyes of this correspondent in Balukhali, Thang Khali, Palong khali and Battoli of Ukhiya upaizla; Chakdala, Ashartoli and Fultoli of Naikhonchhari upazila; and Raikhkong, Unchiprang, Kanjarpara, Jhimonkhali, Lambabeel, Shaplapur and Whykong.
Women and children, as always, were the worst-affected. Sayed Hossain, a member of the Rohingya community, said his two minor boys were affected by fever and diarrhoea. At the Anjuman para border point of Palongkhali, several hundred Rohingyas were entering Bangladesh by crossing the Naf river amid torrential rain. Accoring to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, over 400,000 Rohingyas fled to Bangladesh since August 25. The number keeps increasing every day.