Malaysian aid for Rohingya arrives in Chittagong

Malaysia yesterday handed over 1,472 tonnes of relief materials to the authorities concerned for distribution among the undocumented Rohingya refugees living in Cox’s Bazar.

A cargo vessel named the Nautical Aliya carrying the relief materials and 183 volunteers berthed at a jetty of Chittagong Container Terminal (CCT) of Chittagong Port at 11:00am.

In the afternoon, the unloading of relief materials began. At least 25 of the volunteers would be taking those to Cox’s Bazar in three lorries today.

Kelab Putera 1 Malaysia and the Malaysian Consultative Council for Islamic Organisation (Mapim) had organised the relief to be sent.

The humanitarian aid containing 35 categories of materials including rice, cooking oil, mineral water, sugar, clothes, among others, were handed over at a programme to acting divisional commissioner of Chittagong Syeda Sarwar Jahan. The aid would be distributed among 15,000 Rohingya families in Teknaf and Ukhiya upazilas through Bangladesh Red Crescent Society and the International Organisation for Migration (IMO).

Malaysian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Nur Ashikin Binti Mohd Taib, Co-Chief of the humanitarian mission and also Malaysian lawmaker Abdul Azeez bin Abdul Rahim, Rear Admiral (retd) Khorshed Alam, secretary of maritime affairs unit of the foreign ministry, and Cox’s Bazar Deputy Commissioner Ali Hossain, among others, were present.

Deputy Commissioner Ali Hossain told The Daily Star that the relief would be distributed among 9,500 families in Ukhiya and 5,500 families in Teknaf.

Volunteers waving the Malaysian flag from the ship. The materials would be taken to Cox’s Bazar today for distribution. Photo: Anurup Kanti Das

The 25 of the 183 volunteers would be allowed to visit a few camps in Cox’s Bazar to oversee the distribution, said Rear Admiral (retd) Khorshed Alam.

The ship with around 2,000 tonnes of aid left Port Kelang on February 4 and stopped at Yangon to discharge 521 tonnes of aid there before reaching Chittagong.

Speaking at the programme, Khorshed Alam said Bangladesh had never felt the burden of the Muslim community or the Muslims from Rakhine who had been coming since 1979.

Bangladesh had been hosting them and would continue to host them, he said, adding, “But we will not definitely like it if they create problems within our borders. That is why the government is thinking about transferring them to Thengarchar in near future.”

Malaysian High Commissioner Nur Ashikin Binti Mohd Taib said several Malaysian NGOs with the full support of the Malaysian prime minister had jointly sent the aid.

Malaysia would continue to work together with the international community including Bangladesh to find a solution to this longstanding issue so that the Rohingyas could return to their homes in Myanmar, she added.

She expressed her profound appreciation of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for the cooperation and support in making the passage of the Nautical Aliya to Bangladesh possible.

Co-chief of mission Abdul Azeez bin Abdul Rahim, who also found Malaysian NGO Kelab Putera 1 Malaysia, said this was for the first time the Malaysian government and the Malaysian NGOs organised a relief mission bringing 183 volunteers including some foreign volunteers from 19 countries including Bangladeshis who work in Malaysia.

Mentioning Bangladesh’s lone assistance to more than half a million Rohingya refugees, he said, “Our arrival here today is to say to the world that Malaysia and its 30 million people are with Bangladesh. You are no longer alone. We will help you. And I believe all the Asian brothers and members will come forward and help you to ease your burden.”

Mohammad Azmi bin Abdul Hamid, president of Mapim, BMM Mozharul Huq, secretary general of Bangladesh Red Crescent Society, and Raid Ramahi, head of resources management of IOM, among others, addressed the programme.

Source: The Daily Stau

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