fleeing rohingya carry one key asset: solar panels - reuters

by:SEEKING     2020-04-24
UKHIYA, Bangladesh (
Thomson Reuters Foundation-
After violence broke out in Rakhine state in northern Myanmar in August, Rohingya refugees began arriving in Bangladesh, and local residents were confused by people carrying small solar panels.
\"I was surprised when we saw them with a solar panel.
In this case, I will never do that, \"Jashim Uddin, owner of Ukhiya tea stall in Cox Bazal, Bangladesh, told Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Government officer in charge of Ukhiya submarine Main Uddin
During the outflow of Rohingya, the area said that the group was still shipping despite gun and mine reports on the border.
Since August, more than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh from Rakhine state in northern Myanmar, when the Burmese army launched a crackdown after Muslim militants attacked police stations and military bases.
Many have reported a 5 to 15-day trek on hills and stagnant roads-but dangerous journeys do not prevent many of them from carrying solar panels with them.
\"This solar panel has saved my life,\" said Ayatullah, 18, who used to be the owner of mondu Township in Myanmar and is now in Thaingkhali refugee camp in Bangladesh.
He said he had to be careful to avoid the Burmese army when he fled Myanmar.
\"They killed all the people they met.
We must rely on the information provided by our people about the safe route, for which we need a mobile phone.
\"This solar panel helps us charge our phones,\" he said . \".
A senior United Nations human rights official said last week that Myanmar security forces could commit genocide against Rohingya.
Myanmar, mainly Buddhist, denied atrocities against Rohingya, and said in September that nearly 400 people were killed in the fighting, most of them Rohingya rebels.
In addition to the solar panels, Ayatulla said, he only brought some clothes to Bangladesh.
\"I think I have to take solar panels even if I can\'t get anything,\" he said . \".
The Thomson Reuters Foundation interviewed more than 50 Rohingya refugees at Camp al-Hari and Thaingkhali in uhia, and observed refugee families in the camp, with a large number of refugee families carrying solar panels.
The panels used by the refugees, each of which is laptop size and comes with batteries and small lights, said that on the way to Bangladesh, charge the phone on the hilly jungle road and provide night lighting.
Many say they also think these panels would be useful if they had to live on the streets of Bangladesh.
45-year-old rahida Begum, from the village of Namura near Mondo, made five
Walk to Bangladesh with three sons and three daughters, bring a solar panel, but nothing else.
\"It was very helpful to me when we stayed in the jungle at night.
Without this solar panel, we might not. have reached)
Bangladesh, \"she said.
\"It was a difficult thing for me to carry this, but I did and thought it would be useful for me.
Mohammad Yaser, a refugee at Kearipara near Mohammad du, said many rural areas in Rakhine state do not have a grid connection.
Most families use solar panel lighting in the evenings and other daily activities, while others use candles or kerosene lamps.
Yaser says solar panels in Myanmar are cheaper than in Bangladesh, 20-
Watt panel for 20,000 kyat (about $15).
In Bangladesh, the cost of an equivalent group is 8 to 12 times that of the group.
Many Rohingya refugees say they know the difference, which is another reason why they bring the panel with them.
Security issues are also worrying.
\"When we arrived in Bangladesh, we had to stay on the street for the first few days.
During that time, we were powered by solar panels and the light made us feel safe, \"said Abdur Jaher, 45, from the town of Maungdu in Myanmar, where he and his wife and their
There is no grid connection at the Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh.
The refugees were illuminated with solar panels, candles and kerosene lamps at night.
The government of Bangladesh also provided 500 solar energy.
Street lights and 2,000 home systems solar panels in the camp, as well as water wells and water purification systems, also use solar energy.
The United Nations organization for international migration has also used solar energy to provide medical support to refugees in kutuparong and the Hari refugee camp on the road, providing services 24 hours a day.
The UN refugee agency said on December 7 that although both Bangladesh and Myanmar have set a timetable for allowing Rohingya to return home, Rohingya are still coming to Bangladesh.
UNHCR said about 1,500 people had arrived the previous week.
The refugees reportedly fled mass killings, rape and arson attacks against them.
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