DHAKA: A total of 1,642 Rohingyas of Bangladesh are settling in after arriving at Bhashan Char, an island in the Bay of Bengal under Hatiya upazila of Noakhali which is their new home now, during the first phase of relocation, in what may be called a milestone in Bangladesh's handling of the Rohingya crisis.
A convoy of 19 vessels transferred the Rohingyas from Chittagong on Friday including five navy ships and an army ship. Another navy ship was kept stand-by as backup in case of any emergency. Four speed boats, four country boats, two navy and two coast guard boats escorted the seven ships.
Bangladesh Navy were in-charge of ensuring security of the ships carrying them.
In a pressnote, Bangladesh government has asked everyone to exercise utmost caution, not to undermine or misinterpret its genuine efforts to improve lives and livelihood of the Rohingyas through relocation to Bhasan Char.
During the journey and after the arrival, the Rohingyas looked happy at the prospect of getting new accommodation and the newly-arrived Rohingyas were settling in the homes allocated to them.
The government had initially planned to relocate around 2,500 people from the camps to the island in the first phase, but that could not take place due to unknown reasons.
Earlier in the day, about a dozen Rohingyas of different ages said that they were going to Bhashan Char willingly after they had been apprised of different aspects of the island.
Amena begum, a Rohingya woman said, "We were not forced by anyone. The deteriorating conditions in the camps at Cox's Bazar prompted them to move us to Bhashan Char." (IANS)