Bhasan Char Island is located in Bangladesh's Bay of Bengal, near the Hatiya Upazila. It is located around 6 kilometres from Sandwip island and 60 kilometres from the mainland, near the shore. Several Rohingya refugees from the Cox Bazaar refugee camp now live on the island, amid the concerns of humanitarians claiming the island is uninhabitable.
The island is also known as Char Piya and was known as Thengar Char until 2019. Between December 2020 and January 2021, around 4,000 Rohingyas were resettled on the Bhashan Char island. In this article, we have shared further information about the island.
About Bhashan Char Island
Bhasan Char Island is a small island produced by Himalayan silt only a few years ago. It was formed by silt near the entrance of Bangladesh's Meghna River and erupted from the water as one of a slew of shifting, unstable islands, or chars, as known locally. Bhashan Char island is more of a mudflat than an island, and it is extremely prone to floods and tidal inundation.
Features of the Bhashan Char Island
- During the rains, much of the Bhashan Char island is submerged.
- The island is at the mouth of the Meghna River, which empties into the Bay of Bengal.
- The river silt deposited by Bhashan Char only surfaced in 2006.
- Bangladesh plans to rehabilitate 100,000 of its one million Rohingya refugees on the Bhashan Char island.
- Residents of this island have no other form of transportation besides watercraft, which takes three to three-and-half hours to reach from Hatiya.
Why is Bhashan Char Island in the News?
Thousands of Rohingyas are being relocated to Bhashan Char island from refugee camps in Bangladesh. This is a matter of concern because humanitarians believe that the island is not suitable for human habitation. Moreover, Rohingyas have expressed anxiety over the Bhashan Char Island being washed away by the seas.
Why is Bhashan Char Island Uninhabitable?
Humanitarians oppose the proposal, fearing bad living conditions on the new Bhashan Char Island, and are calling for an impartial UN assessment. Environmentalists warn that the island is environmentally vulnerable and susceptible to cyclones and floods.
Concerns regarding the restoration initiative at the Bhashan Char Island have been aired by both the international community and the refugees.
- Bhashan Char Island is located in an environmentally sensitive area prone to flooding, erosion, and cyclones.
- During floods and bad weather, the Bhashan Char Island is unreachable.
- Rainwater collection and underground tanks are the only sources to supply water to the Bhashan Char Island.
- Several refugees on the Bhashan Char Island reported they didn't have enough food and that people with diseases, including children, were dying owing to a lack of access to proper medical treatment.
Bhashan Char Island - Government Initiatives
Thousands of Rohingyas from the Cox's Bazar refugee camp are being relocated to the Bhashan Char Island’s newly built facility. Here are some of the initiatives by the Bangladesh government to make the transition convenient for the Rohingyas.
- Bangladesh's government is constructing a flood defence system on the Bhashan Char Island.
- Under the protective system, two long dams are being built. The outside one is 12 feet tall, while the inner one is 33 feet tall.
- Solar power systems have been erected to provide inhabitants with electricity 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- The administration remains optimistic that the project and strategy would aid in the orderly management of the enormous refugee population on Bhashan Char Island.
- Bangladesh's Forestry Department has also started planting mangroves.
- A fence, as well as watchtowers, will be installed around the perimeter.
- To defend against tidal waves, the dwellings will be raised four feet above the ground on the Bhashan Char Island.
FAQs on Bhashan Char Island
Q1. Where is Bhashan Char Island situated?
Bhashan Char Island is located in Bangladesh's Bay of Bengal, near the Hatiya Upazila. It is a 40-square-kilometre island produced by Himalayan silt only a few years ago. Bangladesh is resettling thousands of Rohingyas from refugee camps to Bhashan Char Island.
Q2. Which country is resettling its refugees to the Bhashan Char Island?
Bangladesh is resettling its Rohingya refugees to the Bhashan Char Island. Between December 2020 and January 2021, around 4,000 Rohingyas were resettled on the Bhashan Char island. However, the Rohingyas express concerns over the uninhabitable conditions of the island.
Q3. How many Rohingyas are on Bhashan Char Island?
Currently, around 4,000 Rohingyas are on the Bhashan Char Island. The island is located near the Hatiya Upazila in Bangladesh’s Bay of Bengal. The 4,000 Rohingyas were moved from the Cox Bazaar refugee camp to the Bhashan Char Island.
Q4. What are the other names of Bhashan Char Island?
Bhashan Char Island is known by the other names of Thengar Char and Char Piya. Bhashan Char Island was formed by silt near the entrance of Bangladesh's Meghna River and erupted from the water as one of a slew of shifting, unstable islands, or chars, as known locally.
Q5. Why is Bhashan Char Island unsuitable for resettling Rohingya refugees?
Several refugees on Bhashan Char Island reported they didn't have enough food and that people with diseases, including children, were dying owing to a lack of access to proper medical treatment. Many humanitarians also claim that the living conditions are bad on the Bhashan Char Island.