Rohingya refugee census: Refugees spread across Bangladesh

Emran Hossain and Nurul Islam . Teknaf | Updated at 08:38am on December 13, 2016

The ongoing maiden census of Rohingya refugees have already found that the persecuted ethnic minority people of Myanmar have spread across Bangladesh and they are now in almost all of the 64 districts.
The census outcome is expected to be published this month, Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics officials involved in the census told New Age on Monday as the final phase of the census began in six districts on Sunday while the influx of Rohingyas fleeing fresh violence in Myanmar continued for over two months. At least 150 Rohingyas entered Bangladesh on Monday.
When field workers employed in conducting post-enumeration survey went door to door at Leda makeshift camp at Teknaf in Cox’s Bazar, they found the shelters filled to the brim with newcomers.
‘Household interviews have revealed that refugees have started to live in the rest 58 districts leaving the six district under census in search of shelter and employment,’ said a bureau official.
The household interviews were taken in June 2-14 in Cox’s Bazar, Rangamati, Bandarban, Khagrachari, Chittagong and Patuakhali, the primary destinations of the Rohingya refugees.
‘The census counted the refugees who entered the country till June 14…The new arrivals will have to wait for the next census to be counted,’ said the officer.
It is believed that 3-5 lakh Rohingya refugees live in Bangladesh. The first influx of Rohingyas from Myanmar into Bangladesh was seen in 1978. The next influx came in 1992 and 2012.
The International Organisation for Migration said on December 6 said that over 21,000 Rohingyas had entered Bangladesh till date since the violent military crackdown on them in Rakhine state began following reported insurgent attack on Myanmar’s border outpost on October 9.
Although officially there were 34,000 refugees living in two registered refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, the ever-increasing number of Rohingya refugees gave birth to several unregistered Rohingya camps in the district.
The Leda makeshift camp is one of them. An estimated 20,000 refugees live there. Another unregistered camp has been set up at Ukhiya’s Kutupalang, about 30km from Leda, where over 40,000 refugees live.
About 8,000 Rohingyas live in Baharchhara’s Shamlapur refugee camp, about 45km from Leda.
A visit to Shamlapur found that 1,200 families were living in a cluster in the locality’s Charpara area and 600 families were in houses scattered across the locality’s residential area.
‘We had lived on the beach for three years before we were asked to move here two years ago,’ said Laila Begum, 40, a Rohingya woman living in Shamlapur.
Laila allowed Dilbahar, 40, to live on her courtyard. Dilbahar moved to Shamlapur after staying two days at Kutupalang camp after entering the country about two weeks ago.
‘About 200 more Rohingya families have arrived at Shamlapur recently,’ said Abdur Rahman, Imam of Baitul Nur mosque in Shamlapur.
Local people said that they were worried over the continued influx of refugees who as unregistered inhabitants were not under any surveillance.
Rohingyas are called stateless people as Myanmar, where they have been living for generations, denied them citizenship.