Bangladesh will move 1 lakh Rohingya refugees to a remote land starting next month, officials confirmed on Tuesday. And this will take place despite them being warned of violent weather in the silty strip.
On October 3, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is scheduled to officially inaugurate newly-constructed shelters for the displaced Muslims on Bhashan Char, muddy islet that emerged from the Bay of Bengal in 2006.
According to officials, shifting refugees from overcrowded camps near the border with Myanmar to the island was initially planned in June before the start of the monsoon. This plan, embroiled in controversy, is now behind schedule.
The process of construction of shelters and evacuation centres for those refugees has been  expedited by the navy. According to a senior disaster management official, three-quarter of the project is almost complete.
An official even said that in the first phase, 50-60 Rohingya families will be relocated from the beginning of next month.

Prone to tropical cyclones in Bay of Bengal between April and November, Bangladesh is a low-lying riverine country that is susceptible to rising sea levels. Natural disasters in coastal areas near Bhashan Char have claimed thousands of lives in the last 50 years.

Violent storms make life difficult and dangerous when one embarks on a journey by sea since the nearest land takes one hour by boat.

A violent crackdown in Myanmar in August last year saw 7 lakh Rohingya Muslims fleeing and landing in southeast Bangladesh overwhelming already existing refugee camps. This triggered the relocation plan now.

The silty strip prone to flooding and disasters is uninhabitable, rights groups warned, urging Bangladesh to rethink.

$ 280 million has been pumped by the government last November to turn it into a habitable land.

According to some navy officials, the island was made flood-resistant with a three-metre-high (nine feet) embankment that was erected around it.

Relief and training in skills like fishing to refugees at the island has been promised by the secretary of the disaster ministry Shah Kamal.