• Short Summary

    A new camp at present being built at Mohammadpur, near Dacca, is designed to improve conditions for forty-thousand Bihari refugees.

  • Description

    A new camp at present being built at Mohammadpur, near Dacca, is designed to improve conditions for forty-thousand Bihari refugees.

    The camp is being built only half a mile (800 m) from the old Mohammadpur Central Camp from where the refugees will come. The camp is being built on land previously owned by the Biharis themselves, and subsequently confiscated from then by the Government of Bangladesh, on the grounds that the Biharis aided the Pakistani Army during its occupation of what was then Pakistan's eastern sector.

    The camp will consist of 600 thatch and bamboo huts, and is being built by Bengalis under Red Cross auspices. Reports say it will have 120 latrines for 40,000 refugees, against sight latrines for 16,000 people in the present camp. Attention is being paid to the problem of drainage in the new camp. The monsoon reaches its peak at this time of year, and the old camps suffered badly from flooding.

    There are an estimated 700,000 Biharis still in Bangladesh, many of whom lost relatives, possessions and homes during the Bengali backlash against the activities of the Pakistani army. Both Pakistan and India have refused to accept more Bihari refugees into their own countries, and official figures put the total of Biharis living in Bangladesh refugee camps at 600,000.

    SYNOPSIS: Next week, the Government of Bangladesh will open this new refugee camp at Mohammadpur, near Dacca. It will house forty thousand Biharis -- the minority Muslim population of Bangladesh.

    During the recent birth-struggles of Bangladesh, the Biharis were accused by the majority Bengali population of helping the occupying Pakistani Army. Many were allegedly massacred, and their homes burnt. Of the eight-hundred thousand Biharis still in Bangladesh, seven-hundred thousand must call the refugee camps 'home'. For the forty-thousand who are to move here, this camp is a bettor 'home' than most.

    Even here the Biharis will not be able to escape Bengali bitterness.....

    ......but they will have adequate sanitation and drainage, important considerations at a time when the monsoon is reaching its peak. The old camp, half a mile away, has eight latrines for sixteen-thousand refugees. The drains are blocked with filth, allowing the monsoon rains to flood through the huts. Here at the new camp, the drainage is deigned to keep the huts dry.

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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