Turkey plans to build 24,000 shelters for Rohingya refugee families in a border region of Bangladesh that has come to be known by the area’s population as the “Turkish Hill.”
Since Aug. 25, 603,000 Rohingya have crossed from Myanmar’s western state of Rakhine into Bangladesh, according to the UN.
The refugees are fleeing a military operation in which security forces and Buddhist mobs have killed men, women and children, looted homes and torched Rohingya villages.
Turkey has been at the forefront of providing aid to Rohingya refugees, and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has even raised the issue at the UN, while efforts by Turkish aid foundations are ongoing to alleviate the plight of the persecuted Rohginya refugees in Bangladesh.
Potable water shortages
Mustafa Tutkun, head of Turkey’s Religious Foundation (TDV), noted that Rohingya refugees are in desperate need of basic necessities, kitchen tools, and hygiene products.
Tutkun pointed that refugees currently live in fragile shelters built of bamboo sticks and tarps.
He stressed that drinkable water shortages are among the gravest issues faced by Rohingya refugees.
Wells are being dug
Five to six-meter deep wells are being dug in the area, however Tutkun stressed that they’re unhygienic, saying that “we have an important job to do when it comes to the issue of drinking water. We’re planning to open a water refinery and dig for deeper wells. We’re talking about digging for hygienic water that springs from 150-meter deep wells.”
Region’s population named the hill
Tutkun said that the TDV has so far been able to deliver aid to close to 150,000 people, noting that the area requested by Turkey to build 24,000 shelters for Rohingya refugees has been designated, but that it has not been made official yet.
The region’s population have taken to calling the area “the Turkish Hill,” according to Tutkun.
Construction begins in April
Construction work will begin next April as soon as infrastructure work in the border region is completed, noted Tutkun.
The Bangladesh army is currently continuing work on building a 13-kilometer road in the area.
Tutkun noted that, upon its completion, the project is planned to house 24,000 shelters for Rohingya refugees.
The Turkish Hill will provide shelters in place of the temporary ones currently set up in the area, which currently hosts 600 families, according to Tutkun.
Fifty million Turkish Liras raised in two months
Turkey has up until now raised TL 50 million in two months for Rohingya refugees following campaigns launched by the TDV.
“Among the campaigns launched by the TDV, the Rohingya aid campaign acheived the highest amount after Syria and Somalia relief. Government officials have brought the issue to the spotlight, which raised awareness among our people. Their support in this context cannot be denied,” concluded Tutkun.