‘Our team will distribute relief and other humanitarian aids among all Myanmar nationals so that there is no discrimination against them’
In order to distribute relief and humanitarian aid effectively among all Rohingya refugees, the Bangladesh Army has decided to form three coordination cells in Ukhiya, Balukhali and Hnila in Cox’s Bazar.
“A decision was made to form three coordination cells comprising representatives from respective organisations in Ukhiya, Balukhali and Hnila for integrated relief distribution among the Myanmar nationals,” Lt Col Rashed Hasan told the Dhaka Tribune on Monday.
The army arranged a coordination conference at Ukhiya Degree College on Sunday afternoon to discuss effective relief distribution with both government agencies, humanitarian organisations, international and local NGOs.
“The coordination cell in Ukhiya (Kutupalong camp) has already started formally working while the other two are working on an ad hoc basis,” Col Rashed said.
“The coordination cells would include representatives from respective organisations and take decision collectively to distribute aid while we would provide space and infrastructure to each organisation to have offices,” the army official said.
The representatives from United Nation High Commissioner for Refugee, International Migration Organization, World Food Programme, BRAC and other NGOs including officials from different government agencies were present at the conference.
At the conference, the army officials sought support from district administration, civil surgeon’s office, police department, traffic police department, mobile court, and the UNO office to ensure law and order in the areas.
According to the army, a good number of Rohinya refugees are yet to be brought under the relief programmes especially those who are living far from the main road. A number of camps have yet to receive any relief and humanitarian aid.
“We have divided the refugee sites into a number of zones, blocks, sectors and sub-sectors while each sub-sector comprising at least 600 families (3,000 people on average) would receive relief weekly,” Brigadier Rahman said.
“Our team will distribute relief and other humanitarian aids among all Myanmar nationals so that there is no discrimination against them.”
Army officials have requested the traffic department to make the Cox’s Bazar to Teknaf road traffic free while no visitor and tourists would be allowed in the thoroughfare and asked them to use the Marine Drive for their travel.
“No tourists and visitors would be allowed from Kotbari to Teknaf in order to keep the road traffic free while small vehicles would not be allowed and commuter buses will have to stop at designated bus stops,” said Brigadier Rahman at the conference.
More than half a million Rohingya have fled Myanmar and entered Bangladesh since August 25 after a military crackdown when an insurgent group of Rohingya Muslims launched attacks on the country’s security forces as a protest of state-sponsored discrimination on Rohingya in Rakhine state.