Rohingya refugees wait for aid at the Sha Porir DWIP in Teknef on Wednesday. Pic/AFP
Bangladesh's army was ordered on Wednesday to take a bigger role helping hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who have fled violence in Myanmar, amid warnings it could take six months to register the new refugees.
Troops would be deployed immediately in Cox's Bazar near the border where more than 420,000 Rohingya Muslims have arrived since August 25, said Obaidul Quader, a senior minister and deputy head of the ruling Awami League party. Soldiers would help build shelters and toilets for the thousands of refugees still sleeping in the open under pounding monsoon rain, Quader said.
"The army presence is especially needed on the spot to construct their shelters, which is a very tough task, and ensure sanitation," he said. The soldiers would also ensure order and assist with distributing relief, a chaotic process that seen stampedes as donors have hurled food and other staples from moving trucks.
Previously troops had been tasked with transporting foreign relief supplies from the country's port city of Chittagong airport to Cox's Bazar where the overcrowded camps are located.
'Myanmar must take back Rohingyas'
Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has issued a new call for Myanmar to take back the 420,000 Rohingya Muslims who have fled violence in the Buddhist-dominated country. Hasina, speaking to Bangladeshi activists in New York, where she is attending the UN meet, also called for greater international pressure on Myanmar over the new crisis.
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