Sunday, 27 July 2008

Help arrives in Burmese refugee camp after starvation deaths

Kaladan Press
26 July 2008

Teknaf, Bangladesh: Relief material from Muslim Aid of UK and Islamic Relief Organization (IRO) was distributed yesterday in the undocumented Burmese Rohingya refugee camp where five refugees died of starvation between 2nd and 19 July.

The Muslim Aid distributed 10 kilograms rice, 1 litre of edible oil, 1½ kg of pulse and 2 kgs of potato per family yesterday, said a Majee of the camp.

The IRO also distributed one kilogram of rice, 1 litre of edible oil, 1½ kg of glutin rice flakes and 250 gram of molasses per family in one block of the refugee camp on July 23, said another Majee of the camp. The camp was shifted to a new location (Lada camp) on July 6.

The camp is better than the one in Dum Dum Meah. But, the refugees faced difficulties finding jobs and to support their families as the camp was located far from the local business area. It cost around 40 Taka for a ride from the camp where as refugees earn only 60 taka as a daily labours. The camp faced shortage of food and refugees began starving. Five refugees died, said a refugee on condition of anonymity. “We are worse off than other refugees as we are living in the lower parts of the camp where we are faced with water seeping from the earth. We can’t sit in the hut (shed),” said Mamona Begum.

“My kids are not able to go out of the shed now as it is muddy outside,” she added.

“In the new camp, we faced some disturbance from the local people living near the camp, who setup shops near the camp and sell goods at high prices compared with other shops a little further from the camp. If we buy goods from other shops, the shopkeepers near our camp loot the goods from the refugees,” said Hussin, a father of four and a daily labourer.

Currently the Lada camp hosts 1,972 families, and the camp will be extended for 2,000 families. Refugees will be provided ration in the days to come, according to Union Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Md. Altaf Hossain Chowdhury of Teknaf.

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