In the third phase, 3,000 more Rohingyas are shifting to Bhasan Char, the new shelter home for the refugees.
The Rohingyas are preparing to leave their camps in four groups yesterday and today, a month after second batch went to Bhasan Char, according to sources.
The first group of Rohingyas from a humanitarian shelter in Ukhia-Teknaf in Cox’s Bazar left their camp yesterday noon.
Witnesses said 18 buses crossed the Rohingya transit point around 12 noon yesterday.
Later in the afternoon, more than a dozen buses carrying Rohingyas are scheduled to leave for Chattogram. However, no concerned authorities are talking about it this time.
Like previous time, the buses are ready to leave Ukhia Degree College ground area for Chattogram.
Apart from the main camp in Ukhia, Rohingyas who want to go to Bhasan Char from all 34 camps, started arriving at the transit point from Wednesday afternoon. The rest arrived on Thursday morning and noon.
Rohingya leaders said those who would leave for Bhasan Char on Friday would arrive at the transit point on Thursday evening and Friday morning/noon.
About 80 buses, several trucks and other necessary vehicles are ready for the two-day journey.
According to the concerned people, there were 30 Rohingyas in the bus that left Ukhia Degree College ground today. There are police cars and an ambulance in front and behind the fleet.
The leaders of registered and unregistered camps said on condition of anonymity that many have been interested to relocate Bhasan Char after seeing life story through social media of those who went to Bhasan Char earlier.
None of them were forced, they said.
Rohingyas are going from all the camps except the registered camps in Ukhia and Teknaf, according to sources.
Earlier, the second batch of Rohingya groups reached Bhasan Char on 29 December.
Five vessels of the Bangladesh Navy carrying 1,804 Rohingyas, including 523 women and 848 children, arrived at Bhasan Char on the day.
In the first phase, on 4 December, Bangladesh relocated more than 1,642 to Bhasan Char. They were brought in vehicles from different camps a day before and kept in the transit camps of BAF Shaheen College and Boat Club in Chattogram.
Besides, over 300 Rohingyas, who were stranded on the coast on their way to Malaysia, were sent to Bhasan Char earlier.
Bhasan Char – located around 39km from Noakhali in an estuary of the Meghna River – was covered in a shroud of grass and mangrove trees. But now the desolate islet has taken a new look altogether with buildings painted pink.
From houses for living, solar panels for electricity, biogas fuel for cooking and waste management system, cyclone centres, mobile phone network – everything is available for its new habitants.
Bangladesh has been hosting over 11 lakh Rohingyas in congested Cox’s Bazar camps. Some 1,00,000 Rohingyas will gradually be shifted to Bhasan Char, which is well-equipped with modern facilities, including schools, mosques, community clinics, mobile networks and Internet, for Rohingyas.
The whole island is mostly solar-powered with solar systems installed on rooftops of all 1,440 buildings, including 120 cyclone shelter centres.
The buildings have around 52,000 lights. Around 1,000 solar-powered street lights illuminate the island’s streets at night.
The ponds – each 5,461 square feet – will be used as alternative sources of water. Besides, there are also rainwater harvesting facilities in all cluster houses.
Roads stretching around 42km have been constructed for internal communication. Human haulers and battery-run rickshaws will ply the roads.
The mobile phone network on the island is provided by Grameenphone and Robi. A fire station is also there.