Relief goods were yet to reach thousands of Rohingyas living in makeshift camps and host communities far away from roads and registered and unregistered camps in Cox’s Bazar and bordering areas of Bandarban till Monday.
Rohingays who entered Bangladesh or were waiting in borders were facing untold sufferings with inadequate food, water and sanitation facilities at makeshift settlements or under open sky.
Aid agencies said that poor road communication was hampering effective distribution of aid across all sites and settlements.
International aid groups rang the alarm bell to escalate efforts for relief works for all Rohingyas to avoid severe humanitarian crisis.
Local administration continued efforts to bring all scattered Rohingyas into new Balukhali camps to end continued chaos in relief distribution. The administration would start eight food distribution centres at Ukhia and Teknaf to ease the food crisis among Rohingays.
Save the Children humanitarian director Mostak Hussain said that international aid agencies as well as locals yet to cover all Rohingyas with their relief works.
Cox’s Bazar additional district magistrate Khaled Mahmud, also the focal person on Rohingya issue, said that government was trying its best to give assistance to all Rohingyas but their number was too high to cope with the situation.
UN agencies said that about 4.15 lakh Rohingyas entered Bangladesh in the past three weeks. Bangladesh foreign ministry officials estimated that the number of new and old Rohingya entrants crossed 8.33 lakh.
UNHCR and the IOM expressed fear that the new influx might take to 10 lakh the number of Myanmar nationals in Bangladesh.
The ongoing ethnic cleansing began in Rakhine on August 25, when Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army reportedly attacked dozens of police posts and checkpoints and one military base in Rakhine and Burma army launched the ‘clearance operation.’
The Rohingyas are a stateless ethnic minority in Myanmar not allowed to exercise their basic rights including the freedom to move, right to education, work and other social, civil and political rights.
Despite local administration’s call for not distributing relief in scattered ways, distribution of relief by individual and groups continued on Monday.
International aid and local assistance were yet to reach Rohingyas in Asartola, Konapara and Corridor areas of Naikhyangchari in Bandarban and Khayenkhali areas in Cox’s Bazar, which are far away from roads.
Local people said that one had to trek several kilometres through mud roads and hills to reach Asartola, Konapara and Corridor areas.
Abdur Rashid was found living in Netung Hill area of Naikhyangchari said that none came to them with relief.
Naikhyangchari union parishad chairman Taslim Iqbal chowdhury said that none of the Rohingyas in the locality received any relief. ‘We heard that Red Crescent would distribute relief from Tuesday.’
Rohingya man Mohammad Hossain living in makeshift camp near Sabarang point on Shah Parir Dwip-Teknaf road said that he and another several hundred had received no relief.
‘We are planning to move to Balukhali,’ he said.
Dil Mohammad living on Nhila point of Cox’s Bazar-Teknaf road also said that they got no relief and were living on some food provide by the locals and passersby.
‘Limited road access is hampering the effective distribution of aid across all sites and settlements and limited number of local partners working in the field was restricting ability of agencies to scale up activities,’ said a situation report prepared by the international aid agencies Monday evening.
Numerous small and ad hoc aid distributions are
being undertaken in an uncoordinated manner causing safety and security issues and congestion on the roads, it said.
Beneficiaries are still moving in search of more suitable locations to settle, making it difficult to provide comprehensive assistance, it added.
Cox’s Bazar relief control room supervisor Serajul Islam said that they would open eight food distribution centres to distribute cooked hotchpotch among Rohingyas.
Food distribution centres would begin works today –– two at Ukhia’s Balukhali, one each at Palangkhali and Kutupalang, two at Teknaf’s Un Thri Pang and one each at Baharchara and Teknaf municipality.
District administration would distribute cooked food to at least one lakh people per day, Serajul said.
Thousands of Rohingyas massed in makeshift camps in Cox’s Bazar after fleeing ‘ethnic cleansing’ in Myanmar suffered for second for rain that swamped their shelters making the places filthy and aggravating their struggle for survival.
Two Rohingyas were trampled to death by an elephant and three others got injured at Kutupalang makeshift camp of Ukhia in Cox’s Bazar early Monday.
Md Rezaul Karim, in charge of Kutupalong registered camp, confirmed said that an elephant entered the west side of the makeshift camp near Madhurchara canal and carried out the attack.
An elderly man and a two-month-old baby died on the spot while three others of the same family were injured, Rezaul said.
The injured were rushed to Cox’s Bazar General Hospital.