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Monday, January 26, 2015, Magh 13, 1421, Robi-Us-Sani 4, 1436 Hijr

Over four lakh internally displaced persons in Bangladesh: Report
Published : Monday, 26 January, 2015,  Time : 12:00 AM,  View Count : 118

Saleem Samad
An estimated 431,000 people were internally displaced in Bangladesh, according to an annual report of the Switzerland based Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) titled "Comprehensive Response Required to Complex Displacement Crisis" published last week from Geneva.
Over the last three years, inter-communal violence targeting ethnic people, Hindu and Buddhist communities has caused new displacement. The establishment of infrastructure development projects has also forced a large number of people to flee, including in areas experiencing displacement as a result of conflict and violence, the IDMC study writes.
Between 2008 and 2013 Bangladesh had the fifth highest number of people displaced by rapid-onset disasters worldwide in absolute terms. The IDMC estimates that there are currently at least 431,000 IDPs in Bangladesh as a result of conflict and violence.
They include about 667,000 ethnic people displaced in the south-eastern Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) region by armed conflict and inter-communal violence since 1973, while more than 151,000 Urdu-speaking community members were displaced in Dhaka and other urban areas since 1972.
Bangladesh is also highly prone to natural disasters, mainly cyclones and floods, and hundreds of thousands of people are displaced each year by the disasters they cause including tornadoes, storm surges, drought, riverbank erosion and landslides.
Flooding and associated riverbank erosion has become an increasingly important driver of displacement in recent years, with an estimated 26,000 people losing their land each year.
The government has no national policy or legislation on IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) assistance and protection, and there is no institutional focal point for their issues, which is regrettable, opines IDPC.
On the other hand, the government has no comprehensive programme to facilitate durable solutions, making protracted displacement a growing problem. In the absence of the systematic profiling of IDPs' needs, little is known about whether they would prefer to return to their homes, integrate locally or settle elsewhere in the country.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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