The UN’s refugee agency has warned that Bhashan Char is prone to storms and flooding and humanitarian groups have opposed the move.
“If my family go there, to the island, they will die because of floods,” Jannat Ara said.
Bangladesh has spent years building shelters on the island and says the relocation is needed to ease overcrowding at the largest refugee camp in the world in Cox’s Bazar, home to a million Rohingya.
Al Jazeera’s Tanvir Chowdhury reporting from Bangladesh said: “The government on its part says the facilities are good. There’s a naval base, hospital, at least 120 clustered villages with good, modern facilities. Despite all this, there is still a lot of controversy.”
Authorities say they’re only taking those willing to move but some say they were forced.
“They mercilessly beat my brother and broke two or three teeth,” Hafez Ahmed, one of the refugees, said. “Then they brought him here. My brother didn’t want to go to the island. They beat my brother and then brought my nieces and sister-in-law here last night.”
The UN says it doesn’t have access to the island and it remains unclear if the refugees will ever be able to leave after arriving here.
This video was edited by Al Jazeera Newsfeed’s Hassan Ghani.
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