Bhasanchar is safer for Rohingyas than Cox's Bazar: Study
A recent research has found that Bhasanchar Island in Noakhali is safer for the Rohingya people than camps in Cox's Bazar.
Dhaka University (DU) Peace and Conflict department and Central Foundation for International and Strategic Studies (CFISS) jointly conducted the research titled "Relocation of the Rohingya displaced people from Cox's Bazar to Bhasanchar: Opportunities and challenges".
The findings of the study have been unveiled on Saturday at a seminar held at Nabab Nawab Ali Chowdhury Senate Bhaban on the Dhaka University campus.
This research project assessed that Bhasanchar is much safer than Cox's Bazar camps for the persecuted Rohingya people.
The research team was consisted of four teachers of DU peace and conflict department, Dr Md Rafiqul Islam (team leader), Dr Md Touhidul Islam, Md Shaheenur Alam and Maria Hussain.
In the research, they found the mainland and build up areas of the island are considerably stable. A few studies on the erosion and accretion of the area based on satellite images also reaffirmed the same based on the data from 2016-2019 and there is a possibility of the emergence of new land laying in between islands, Sandwip and Hatia.
Apart from this, Bhasanchar provides security which is looked after by the constant presence of the law enforcing agencies and absence of criminal gangs in the area. Internal and external security measures in Bhasanchar are maintained through the installation of security cameras, perimeter fences, watch towers and police posts, the research said.
In Bhasanchar, there will be several means of livelihood than existing camps in Cox's Bazar. Fishing, poultry farming, sheep and cattle rearing, cultivation of rice and vegetables, carpentry, handicrafts, tailoring and providing different community services will be available as earning source for them, it stated.
The researchers evaluated Bhasanchar that it is "certainly a better place" for the Rohingya, compared to the camps in Cox's Bazar. It also added that the island has all the opportunities for the displaced people for their temporary relocation until their repatriation to Myanmar.
The lead researcher of the project, Prof Dr Md Rafiqul Islam said that they conducted the research project with the consent of Rohingya displaced people.
He depicted a comparative research about the facilities and the challenges both in Cox's Bazar and in Bhasanchar.
He said, "Bhasanchar is much more environment friendly than Cox's Bazar. There is now a nine feet embankment and the authority is now working on it to make this nineteenth feet. So it will be a good resistance for natural disaster such as cyclone, flood etc. On the other hand, there are inadequate opportunities in Cox's Bazar. Inadequate accommodation, lack of income source, education adversity, underdeveloped treatment management and security deficiency are the main problems in Cox's Bazar camp."
Taking all of them under consideration, the speakers, present at the seminar, urged both the national and international communities to say "Yes" to Bhasanchar.
A team member of this project, assistant professor Touhidul Islam said, Bhasan char is a place of vast opportunities being compared to the Cox's Bazar camps.
The team researched the scenario in both places concerning sustainability, livelihood, security and human rights.
Prof Zillur Rahman, a teacher of Disaster Management Department said, "Bhasanchar is near to Sandwip. At this moment I can say Bhasanchar is stable. The embankment was made maintaining all the standards. It is strong and it has 260 km per hour cyclone resistance. Interestingly, we found here fresh water layer as well though it was salty in the past. Considering fresh water, stability, sanitation and security including all other opportunities, this place is safer."
Prof Dr Delwar Hossain, Department of International Relations of DU termed Bhasanchar as 'hope' for Rohingya making analogy with the Bangladeshi people's enthusiasm for Padma Bridge.
DU Social Science Faculty dean Prof Sadeka Halim said that international communities need to know about the condition of Bhasanchar. She said, "A group of Rohingya people are not willing to go there because they get cash money in Cox's Bazar whereas they will get rations in Bhasanchar."