Rohingya Refugees From Myanmar and Other Countries Stuck On Isolated Island

Dilara dreamed of a new life in Malaysia as she set off from the coast of Bangladesh.

She and hundreds of others were rescued after spending days floating at sea after being turned away at the border.

However, they were not returned to the mainland or their families.

The group was abandoned on an island made of silt in the middle of the Bay of Bengal by their rescuers, with no hope of escaping.

“I don’t know how long I will stay here. I have no way out,” the unmarried young woman, who fears leaving her room in the dark, told the press.

“I will grow old and die here alone.”

As part of a planned 100,000 Rohingya refugee settlement, Dilara arrived on Bhasan Char, a piece of land measuring 40 square kilometers (15 square miles) in size which had previously served as a stop-off point for fishermen.

The Bangladeshi authorities have hailed it as a solution to the overcrowded refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, which are home to almost a million Rohingya refugees who arrived recently. Myanmar’s army launched a military offensive in 2017, which the UN later called a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”. Earlier violence had driven some people away.

Authorities say, however, that the Rohingya refugee camps have become crime hotspots.

Despite this, the press spoke by phone to refugees on the small island of mud. They describe a place where there is no work, few facilities and little hope of a better future.

It is said that those who attempt to flee are caught and beaten, and refugees are turning on one another as frustration rises. Moreover, they fear that one big storm could wash them away as they are just 2m (6ft) above sea level.

The press was granted access to the island last year, but it is hard to say what is going on. There has been no free access for journalists, aid agencies, or human rights groups to Bhasan Char, which is 60km (37.5 miles) from the mainland.

To protect their identities, the names of a few residents have been changed.

When Halima and her family arrived in December, heavily pregnant, Halima wondered how they would survive.

“It was such a desolate place. Apart from us, nobody lived here.”

The next day, she went into labor without being able to find a doctor or nurse.

“I had experienced childbirth before, but this time it was the worst. I can’t tell you how painful it was.”

Her husband, Enayet, rushed to find a Rohingya woman living in the same block who was trained as a midwife.

Halima says, “God helped me.”. Fathima was her daughter.

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Enayet had promised them a new life on the island without telling his family.

“They [Bangladeshi officials] promised us a plot of land for each family, cows, buffaloes, and loans for businesses,” he told the press.

Halima says that despite having access to running water, bunk beds, a gas stove, and a shared toilet in her accommodation, the reality has been quite different.

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