Memos from Asia

World’s Largest Refugee Camp in Bangladesh

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(Photo Credit: John Owens VOA)

Humanity can be very hard to come across these days and that too mostly in humans. The desire for power, money, and domination has blinded humans and made them cruel. This cruelty of world leaders often led to the establishment of many refugee settlements. Cox’s Bazar district of Bangladesh has the largest refugee camp in the whole world.

History Behind this Settlement

(Photo Credit: Maaz Hussain VOA)

The settlement was first started informally as a refugee camp in the year of 1991 when thousands of Rohingya Muslims fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar because of the violence of the Myanmar Military. As of early 2017, the camp had 34,000 Rohingya refugees. In late 2017, the world has observed a massive wave of Rohingyas fleeing Myanmar. Around that time, the Myanmar Military started torturing brutally the Rohingya Muslims living in the Rakhine state. A total number of 860,000 Rohingyas entered Bangladesh seeking asylum. The government of Bangladesh considered them on humanitarian ground and let them stay. Social workers and world leaders have praised the Prime minister of Bangladesh due to her sympathy towards the refugees and entitled her as Mother of Humanity.

Inside the Camp

(Photo Credit: Captain Raju, CC BY-SA 4.0)

The refugee camps in the Ukhia Upazila of Cox’s Bazar has a total area of 13 square kilometers and has 600,000 refugees living inside the camps. The majority of them are women and children. Most of the refugees fled Myanmar and came to Bangladesh on foot in empty hands. It took them around three days to reach Bangladesh. When they first arrived in Bangladesh, they were exhausted, needed medical assistance, food, and shelter.

(Photo Credit: Captain Raju, CC BY-SA 4.0)

Many human rights organizations and charitable foundations responded to this event and started sending assistance. The government of Bangladesh allocated 5,000 acres of land to provide shelter to the refugees.

(Photo Credit: DFID – UK Department for International Development, CC BY-SA 2.0)

All the organizations and the government of Bangladesh are working together to make sure the refugees in the camp are getting what they need including education for the children, food, shelter, and medical assistance.

(Photo Credit: Captain Raju, CC BY-SA 4.0)

Impact on Bangladesh

However, this event had a lot of negative impacts on Bangladesh. The refugees seem to have involved themselves with Drug and Human trafficking and other violent activities. They have increased the crime rate in that area. The locals living in Cox’s Bazar are now being threatened by the activities of the refugees. The government of Bangladesh has limited the use of mobile phones and other ways of communication within the camp and also restricted the movement of the refugees outside the camp. 8,000 acres of forest were destroyed to accommodate the refugees which had a bad impact on natural resources.

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