Dhaka, Oct 9 (IANS) A Bangladesh government official has confirmed that the latest figure of some 850,000 Rohingya refugees currently residing in the country was “accurate”, and not the the initial calculation released two years ago which was 950,000.
The remarks were made by Mohammad Shamsu Douza, the government’s additional commissioner of refugee, relief and repatriation, in an interview with bdnews24 which was published on Friday.
“At first, a large number of Rohingya refugees arrived together. We did a calculation with our officials. The Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG) tracked the population movement and our passport department conducted a survey. They quoted a number there too,” he said.
“There were inconsistencies in the previous data. As a result, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) have recently launched a joint verification process. The move has led to the actual information.”
Meanwhile, the UNHCR has said the difference was less than 6 per cent between the previous estimate of 914,998 and the current figure of 8,60,697.
The latest figure is based on biometric registration conducted in joint venture with the Bangladesh government until August 31, 2020.
Shamsu Douza said told bdnews24 that the bigger challenge was to ensure food and shelter for the Rohingya after they started entering the country in massive numbers from August 2017 onwards, rather than calculating the exact number.
“In European or other countries of the world, five-10 people are given shelter at a time and are registered in a proper manner. If the same policy was followed here, these people would have starved to death. There were times when 30,000-40,000 people entered the country every day.”
Since the Rohingya exodus began in 2017, Cox’s Bazar, the southeast coastal district, now has the world’s largest refugee camp.
The Bangladesh government has allowed the Rohingya to camp on 6,500 acres of land, which is about 27 square kilometres.