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Satellite images show Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh

by Rohit Kumar

An estimated 3,89,000 Rohingya have fled since the latest violence erupted in the northern Rakhine state of Myanmar  on August 25. They have arrived by foot and boat to the refugee camps in Bangladesh. Presently there are two government-run refugee camps,  in Cox's Bazar, Ukhia, Bangladesh i.e. Kutupalong and the  Nayapara Refugee Camp. The two refugee camps have a combined population of around 30,000 refugees. Before and after satellite images released by DigitalGlobe shows expansion of these camps. Thousands of temporary shelters i.e huts, tents have been built up all over the area.

16th September satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe of Kutupalong camp shows it stretched about 3.9 square kilometers, about four times of its former size. The kutupalong camp has received an estimated 20,000 new arrivals since the latest violence. The Nayapara camp has received an estimated 6,500 refugees. Other new arrivals are scattered in makeshift sites and local villages. In recent days Bangladeshi officials have been ordering some refugees out of Kutupalong camp and into Balukhali camp, a few kilometers away. DigitalGlobe’s imagery showed that Balukhali has expanded dramatically as well. The images don’t capture every makeshift home, which some Rohingya don’t need because they’ve been taken in by Bangladeshi families.

                       Fig. 1: show the thousands of temporary shelters in Bangladesh’s refugee camps. © DigitalGlobe

The United Nations has airlifted in thousands of shelters. The large white plastic tarps, held up with metal tent poles, have no floors but offer some protection from the rain but they are not nearly enough. Other arrivals build bamboo structures and buy thin plastic sheeting at local markets to stay out of the rain. Multiple families cluster under each of them, lacking food and cooking pots, blankets or even spare clothes.

Agencies like the World Food Programme and Action against hunger have been providing high-energy biscuits and hot meals to the new arrivals. Refugee volunteers have also set up community kitchens to meet the growing needs.

                                         Fig.2: Temporary tents at the refugee camp.

According to United Nations, Rohingya are arriving in Bangladesh and more than 100,000 people are still waiting at border to enter  into Bangladesh. On Wednesday, the Trump administration pledged $32 million in humanitarian aid- food, medical care, water, sanitation, and shelter.


An estimated 3,89,000 Rohingya have fled since the latest violence. Kutupalong and Nayapara Refugee Camp are two government refugee camps but they are lacking basic facilities i.e. food, medical care, water and shelters due to continues arrival of Rohingya. U.N administration provided $32 million for food, tents, medicine etc.

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