Dhaka allocates land for giant Rohingya camp

A Rohingya Muslim refugee and child look on as they sit in a school housing new refugees from Myanmar in Kutupalong refugee camp in the Bangaldeshi district of Ukhia on September 23, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 05 October 2017

Dhaka allocates land for giant Rohingya camp

DHAKA: Bangladesh will expand a massive settlement under construction in its southernmost district to house 900,000 Rohingya Muslims, a minister said Thursday, putting it on track to rival the world’s largest refugee camps.
Two thousand acres of land in Cox’s Bazar district were set aside last month for a new site to house 400,000 Rohingya who had fled ethnic bloodshed in neighboring Myanmar since late August.
But space has been exhausted as the number of refugees exceeded half a million, putting immense strain on camps along the border that already hosted hundreds of thousands of Rohingya displaced from past violence in Rakhine State.
Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya, minister for disaster management and relief, said the estimated 8-900,000 refugees would be relocated to the new camp on the fringes of Kutupalong, the largest Rohingya settlement in the area.
“Those who are living in scattered places... would be brought into one place. That’s why more land is needed. Slowly all of them will come,” he told AFP, adding families were already on the move to the new site.
The settlement being built by the army — known as the Kutupalong Extension — would be expanded by 1,000 acres to accommodate the enormous population, Maya said.
He said all refugees living in the 23 camps stretching along the border would be relocated to the new site, and the existing settlements closed. Two have already been shut down, he added.
The project has caused concern among doctors and charities on the ground who fear a disease like cholera could spread quickly through such a congested, overpopulated site.
The refugee crisis — ignited by violence in Myanmar’s westernmost Rakhine State on Aug. 25 — is the fastest and largest flow of people across a frontier since the Rwandan genocide in 1994.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM), the lead UN agency handling the humanitarian crisis, says the situation is “slowly spiralling into a catastrophe of biblical proportions.”
Charities are struggling to feed and shelter the half a million new refugees who have flooded the camps, where cases of diarrhea have doubled in the past week due to poor sanitation.
Mark Lowcock, a UN under secretary general for humanitarian affairs, said the world body would be seeking around $430 million to scale up the relief operation for the destitute Rohingya.


India begins examination of plane’s black box after deadly crash

Updated 3 min 32 sec ago

India begins examination of plane’s black box after deadly crash

  • Air India Express plane overshot runway of the Calicut International Airport in heavy rain
  • Company to pay compensation to the families of the deceased

NEW DELHI: Indian investigators on Sunday began examining the black box of a Boeing-737 that overshot a runway on its second attempt, killing 18 people in the country’s worst aviation accident in a decade.
The Air India Express plane, which was repatriating Indians stranded in Dubai due to the coronavirus pandemic, overshot the runway of the Calicut International Airport in heavy rain near the southern city of Kozhikode on Friday.
The aircraft fell into a valley and broke in half.
In an interview with Reuters partner ANI on Sunday, Anil Kumar, head of India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation, said the country would open the recovered transcripts to international investigators, as well as manufacturer Boeing.
“Only after conducting a thorough and unbiased probe, can we tell what exactly happened,” Kumar said.
The 2,700-meter runway at the airport is known as a “table-top,” an aviation term for runways with steep drops at one or both ends.
They leave little room for error should a pilot overshoot the runway, either through human error or mechanical failure.
Late on Saturday, Kumar told CNN-News18 in an interview that the pilot made an aborted landing attempt into a headwind and then made a second approach with a tail wind, landing 1,000 meters down the runway.
An air traffic control official familiar with the crash confirmed this version of events, adding it is unusual to attempt a landing at the airport with a tailwind, which is typically used for takeoffs.
“The length of the runway in Calicut is around 2,700 meters and the plane touched the ground after crossing 1,000 meters of the length, leaving less room to bring the aircraft to a halt,” the official, who declined to be named as he is not authorized to speak to the media, said.
“It was windy and rainy and the runway surface was wet. In such instances the weather is dynamic.”
“An aircraft typically lands and departs in a headwind as a tailwind increases the plane’s speed.”
A spokesman for Air India did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The company has already said it will pay compensation to the families of the deceased.