Rohingya refugee numbers in Bangladesh skyrocket

Fleeing Rohingya refugees pause to rest at the Bangladesh-Myanmar border. (AN photo)
Updated 04 September 2017
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Rohingya refugee numbers in Bangladesh skyrocket

DHAKA: “I can’t believe I’m still alive,” said Abdur Rahman, a 46-year-old Rohingya who fled Chikon Jhuria village in Rakhine state, Myanmar.
“The army suddenly attacked our village at around 9 a.m. The whole village was burned down. Me, my wife and our 4-year-old boy took shelter in the adjacent jungle. My mother and two uncles were shot dead by the army.”
It took four days for Abdur Rahman, his wife and son to reach Ukhia refugee camp in Bangladesh.
Rahela Begum, 29, said it took her three days “without any food or even water” to reach the camp. “I don’t know what awaits me here. I only know that I’m safe,” she said.
This is a glimpse of the suffering of Rohingya Muslim refugees. Since Aug. 25, some 60,000 have escaped from Rakhine to Bangladesh, according to the UN.
Local reports say there are at least 10,000 more people waiting at the Bangladesh-Myanmar border.
“I’ve never witnessed such a big number of Rohingya refugees within such a short span of time,” said Ataur Rahman, a member of the Bangladesh Borders Guard.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is struggling to provide basic humanitarian support for the rapidly rising number of refugees, an IOM staff member said on condition of anonymity.
Local Bangladeshis are trying to help, but “the situation is so grave that Bangladesh can’t handle it anymore by itself,” said a government official on condition of anonymity.
“The international community and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) need to come up with emergency aid.”
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has urged the US to pressure Myanmar’s government to stop atrocities against the Rohingya.


Gulf Arab youths form volunteer group in Australia

Updated 25 min 6 sec ago
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Gulf Arab youths form volunteer group in Australia

ADELAIDE: Young Arabs from various Gulf countries have organized a volunteer group to spread Gulf culture and traditions in Australia.
Wasel Club, the first Arab volunteer group in the capital city of South Australia Adelaide, aims to achieve its mission by enhancing cooperation and teamwork through various cultural, national and social activities.
The club has chosen to begin with the traditional Gargee’an, which takes place in the middle of Ramadan, during which families give different kinds of treats to kids and traditional games are played by the elderly.
“We’d been thinking of a good way to commence our activities. Gargee’an is an activity that involves all ages,” Razan Al-Dossary, the founder of Wasel and a nursing student at South Australia University, told Arab News.
“Gargee’an is an interesting, fun and friendly event that allows people to connect with each other and see interesting aspects of Arab culture and society,” she said.
“All members of the (Wasel) team are students who are thousands of miles away from home. We saw an opportunity for us and other Arabs to experience the way Gargee’an is done back home.”