PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian delegation on board the ship carrying relief for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh finally met them in Cox’s Bazar, a fishing port and district located some 200km south of Chittagong, on Wednesday, The Daily Star reported today.
The Malaysian aid ship had docked in Bangladesh’s Chittagong port on Tuesday, carrying 1,472 tonnes of food, clothing and medical items.
The 25-member delegation, led by Umno supreme council member Abdul Azeez Rahim, then accompanied trucks loaded with the relief items to Cox’s Bazar, where the refugees had taken shelter in what is called “Rohingya slums”.
It was previously reported that the Bangladesh government had allowed only 25 out of the 183 volunteers to leave the Malaysian aid ship and accompany the trucks carrying the relief items.
Quoting sources from local authorities, the daily said the Malaysians met with the refugees in three “slums” located in Kutupalong, Balukhali (in Ukhia sub-district) and Leda (Teknaf).
The delegation distributed relief items such as rice, cooking oil, mineral water, sugar and clothes. They were helped by the International Organisation for Migration and Bangladesh Red Crescent Society in giving out the relief items.
According to Daily Star, Saiful Islam Majumder, deputy commissioner (education and ICT) of Cox’s Bazar, said the relief items were kept in food godowns in Ukhia and Teknaf and those would be distributed on Sunday or Monday.
Saiful, who is also the chief of relief distribution coordination committee, was quoted as saying that the relief aid would be given out to 15,000 Rohingya families from four places. Of them, 5,000 Rohingya families are in Teknaf and the rest are in Ukhia.
Meanwhile, Azeez, who is also Tabung Haji chairman, expressed his gratitude to the Bangladesh authorities for their support for the refugees.
“Bangladesh has shown great sympathy by sheltering the helpless Rohingyas,” Azeez was quoted as saying, adding that the Malaysian government would send more relief items to Bangladesh.
It was previously reported that almost 70,000 Rohingya have fled to southern Bangladesh since last October following an alleged military crackdown against them in Myanmar Rakhine state.