Bangladesh is not expecting much help from foreign donors as it forges ahead with plans to relocate 100,000 Rohingya refugees to an uninhabited island, an undertaking that does not yet have a timeline, a state minister said in an interview, Reuters reports.
The minister of state for foreign affairs, Mohammed Shahriar Alam, told Reuters on Friday that Bangladesh was paying the entire roughly $280 million to build homes and fortify the muddy island in the Bay of Bengal from cyclones, and that it was mulling a formal request for international funds.
No refugees who fled a military crackdown in Myanmar would be moved there against their will, he added.
Some 700,000 Rohingya Muslims crossed the border from Myanmar’s Rakhine state since August, and are in cramped camps at Cox’s Bazar. Because a repatriation deal between the neighboring countries has been delayed, Bangladesh aims to prepare new homes on the nearby island, called Bhasan Char, before the onset of seasonal monsoon rains that could come in late April.
“We don’t have a timeline because it’s a lot of money,” Alam said at Bangladesh’s United Nations office in New York. “We are so far building it with our own finances. I am not very hopeful about how much funds the international community will be able to raise.”