Reuniting with families after months of ordeal | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 01, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:13 AM, January 01, 2021

Reuniting with families after months of ordeal

Two Rohingya men join their loved ones at Bhasan Char after perilous journey to Malaysia ended in disaster

Din Mohammad had made up his mind to go to Malaysia in desperate want of a better life.

A Rohingya refugee from the cramped camps of Cox's Bazar, he contacted one of his fellow Rohingyas in Malaysia and made all the arrangements for his journey.

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One fine morning in March last year, he left on a perilous overcrowded voyage from Teknaf coast, leaving behind his new-born son.

With 330 others, he approached the Malaysian coast. The Malaysian navy drove their boat away and after sailing on the Bay of Bengal for nearly three months, the Bangladesh Navy rescued them in May.

"There was no food. No water. One had already died. We were dying on the boat. The navy rescued us and took us to Bhasan Char," Din told this correspondent.

The group has been on Bhasan Char since then and Din had not been able to see his wife and only son.

Finally, on December 29, the family was reunited when his wife and son arrived on Bhasan Char along with the second batch of Rohingya refugees from Cox's Bazar.

Ayatullah was also on same boat. He too was reunited with his family members on the same day.

He left his mother and one brother in the Cox's Bazar camps when he decided to travel to Malaysia.

His mother, his son Arafat and his brothers also arrived at Bhasan Char with Din Mohammad's wife and son.

"My wife had left me when I failed to enter Malaysia. My mother was alone there with my son and younger brother. Now they have come [to Bhasan Char] and I am really glad to be with them again," he said.

The two families have been allotted rooms on the island along with other necessities.

Both Ayatullah and Din said if they get a job it would help them repay their debts and lead a better life.

Ayatullah spent 2.80 lakh to go to Malaysia.

But interestingly, none of them can say who the brokers were or to whom exactly they paid the money.

Asked, they said they simply trusted their friends from Myanmar who were living in Malaysia.

A total of 306 Rohingyas were rescued by the Bangladesh Navy on April and May last year and were taken to the island.

In the first phase, a total of 1,642 Rohingyas arrived at Bhasan Char and in 1,804 arrived in the second phase.


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