Bangladesh (MNN) — The government of Bangladesh has begun re-settling Rohingya refugees on a small island in the Bay of Bengal. The island, Bhasan Char, only formed in 2006, and many people worry it could easily flood. For satellite images and graphics of the island and the growing settlement there, click here.
Many Rohingya currently live in the world’s largest refugee settlement near the town of Cox’s Bazar. They were forced to leave their homeland in Myanmar after suffering severe ethnic violence in 2017. The Rohingya remain among the poorest and most neglected people in the world.
Vincent Michael of FMI explains the motivation to move the Rohingya. “The locals in the area don’t particularly like being flooded with all of the refugees. There’s been tension between the refugees and the locals, and there’s also been a lot of crime in the camps. At least that has been reported. The living conditions in these camps are congested and not very enviable.”
But is moving to an island really best for the Rohingya? Michael says, “It might actually make repatriation into Myanmar more difficult (if that ever becomes a possibility for these refugees). [That] is definitely a real issue once you’re out on the island. Are you just going to be stuck there? Or is there going to be a way back?”
Michael says it can be difficult to help the Rohingya from the outside since the government of Bangladesh has not been very transparent about the situation. “Not only is the Western media kind of being blocked out, but a lot of the watchdog organizations are also being blocked out. And a lot of the NGO’s that would normally help are also being blocked out. So it’s difficult to know what’s happening.”
Pray these organizations will gain more access to be able to help the Rohingya moving forward, and that those already living on Bhasan Char will be safe from flooding and erosion.
Pray also that many Rohingya would find eternal hope in Jesus, the Savior who was a refugee.
The header image shows Rohingya refugees. (Photo courtesy of World Mission)