600,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, say sources

Rohingya refugees walk back after collecting relief material at Balukhali refugee camp in the Bangladeshi district of Ukhia on October 15, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 16 October 2017

600,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, say sources

COX’S BAZAR: Since Aug. 25, more than 536,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar for Cox’s Bazar district in Bangladesh, the Inter Sector Coordination Group said Thursday. But unofficial local sources put the figure at 600,000.
Around 150 Rohingya have died in the last six weeks due to at least four incidents of boats capsizing en route to Bangladesh. The bodies were recovered by Bangladeshi authorities.
“We can’t cross the river (Naaf) during the day as the Myanmar Army opens fire on boats carrying refugees, so we start the horrifying journey at night,” Bokhtiar Alam, who reached Kutupalang camp a week ago, told Arab News.
The small fishing boats carry 30-70 Rohingya at a time, which is “very risky, especially during the darkness of night,” he said.
Rejoan Huq, another refugee in Kutupalang, told Arab News: “While fleeing from Buchidong, Myanmar, we noticed signboards saying ‘Muslim-free area,’ and the army was celebrating along with local Buddhists.”

He added: “Many of my neighbors from Jambunia, Shooterpara and Mongnipara villages are hiding in paddy fields. Some have taken shelter in boatmen’s residence waiting to cross the river.”
Noor Hossain, a local official from Teknaf Thana, told Arab News: “Around 50 Bangladeshi boatmen and a few Myanmar boatmen are transporting Rohingya to Bangladesh. For the last few days, 3,000-5,000 Rohingya entered Bangladesh everyday through the Shah Porir Dip (an island in the Bay of Bengal). We’re giving them emergency food and water, then sending them to camps in Ukhia.”
Rohingya refugee Mohammed Alamin told Arab News: “We needed to pay 3,000-5,000 Bangladeshi taka per head ($38-$63) to cross the river. Many of my neighbors are still waiting on the other side as they can’t afford the boat fare.”
Nurul Alam who was a private staff of Lo Juung, the judge of Mongdu court, told Arab News: “The Myanmar Army threatened to shoot us if we didn’t leave. We weren’t allowed to visit the nearby market to buy daily commodities.”
Alam added: “I used to receive 218,000 kyat (Myanmar’s currency), which is equivalent to $163, every month as a salary. I was a rich person in my community. Neighbors used to respect me and my family members. Now we’re refugees without a penny.”

LIVE: Davos 2020 Day One - Thunberg slams elites, Trump hails US economic rebound

Updated 43 min 13 sec ago

LIVE: Davos 2020 Day One - Thunberg slams elites, Trump hails US economic rebound

  • Discussion panels featuring a number of high profile figures from the political, business and civil world.
  • Environment and climate issues on agenda, but Iran and Lebanon expected to feature heavily

The World Economic Forum 2020 started on Tuesday in Davos in Switzerland. Greta Thunberg kicked off the three day forum in a panel discussion on Sustainable Path towards a Common Future.

There will be discussion panels featuring a number of high profile figures from the political, business and civil world.

They will discuss a wide range of subjects including the environment and climate issues, but Iran and Lebanon are expected to feature heavily.

Follow Arab News’ coverage below

13:45 - Bollywood superstar and mental health ambassador Deepika Padukone has a very honest and inspiring conversation with World Health Organization's director-general about her own experiences with mental illness and how the stigma surrounding it can be ended...

In 2017, Padukone spoke vividly about her struggle with depression and the stigma that surrounded it. She also described how she decided to speak out, so others wouldn't have to suffer in the same way she did. Watch the Crystal Awardee speaking earlier at Davos:

13:00 - Saudi Arabia's Minister for Communications and IT Abdullah Al-Swaha has been speaking on a panel about the strategic outlook for Middle East economies. He makes the salient point that if countries want their economies to grow, they must focus on youth, technology and the empowerment of women...

11:30 - US President Donald Trump reverted to his role as salesman Tuesday, telling a gathering of the world's top businessmen in the Swiss Alps that he's led a “spectacular” turnaround of the US economy and encouraged them to invest in America.

He reminded the audience that when he spoke here two years ago, early in his presidency, “I told you that we had launched the great American comeback."

“Today I’m proud to declare the United States is in the midst of an economic boom, the likes of which the world has never seen before,” the president said.

Read more of the US President's address at Davos here: Trump lauds US economy in Davos, says little on climate woes

11:00 - Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson delivered a special message from Pope Francis. He called on everyone to remember that we are all members of one human family, and that we have a moral obligation to care for one another.

And he asked for a renewed ethical approach in the forthcoming discussions, including in the discipline of economics.

10:30 - The historian Yuval Noah Harari struck a pessimistic note at the opening of this session on the technology arms race. 

"On the most shallow level it could be a repeat of the 19thcentury industrial revolution, when the leaders had the chance to dominate the world economically and politically... I understand the current arms race as an imperial arms race... You don't need to send the soldiers in if you have all the data on a country," says Harari.

10:00 - In one of the first sessions of the WEF, Greta Thunberg said the voices of science and youth need to be at the center of the conversations on environment and future during “Forging a Sustainable Path towards a Common Future” panel discussion. 

Read more on her speech hereThunberg condemns climate inaction as Trump joins Davos