Bangladesh: 33 injured when plane skids off runway

             By SM Najmus Sakib</p>  <p>Dhaka, Bangladesh (AA) - All 33 people on board a Bangladeshi plane, including two pilots and two crew members, were injured after the plane skidded off the runway at Yangon International Airport on Wednesday evening.</p>  <p>A Biman Bangladesh Airlines Dash-8 Q400 from Dhaka to Yangon skidded off the left side of the runway at Yangon while landing at 6:22 p.m. (1222GMT), the airline announced on social media.</p>  <p>Some 15-20 injured people were taken to hospital, and 11 others were released after treatment at the airport clinic, according to local reports. The plane was badly damaged in the incident.</p>  <p>In addition to Bangladeshis, the passengers included nationals of Myanmar, Canada, China, India, France, and Switzerland, reported local daily the Dhaka Tribune.</p>  <p>Manjurul Karim Khan Chowdhury, Bangladesh’s ambassador to Myanmar, told the daily that “the front wheel of the aircraft broke as it landed at the airport where it was raining, accompanied by strong gusts.&quot;</p>  <p> 

Turkish charity serves iftar to orphans in Bangladesh

                                By Mesut Ozcan</p>    <p>BANGLADESH (AA) - A Turkish charity on Wednesday served fast-breaking meals, or iftar, to orphans in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar . </p>    <p>The Istanbul-based Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) organized the dinner at the Dar Al Iman Orphanage in Cox’s Bazar.</p>    <p>Speaking at the event, Ahlul Islam, one of the teachers at the orphanage, said they are teaching holy Quran to 45 students.</p>    <p>The orphanage hosts Rohingya and Bangladeshi children.</p>    <p>The IHH has a total of nine orphanages in Bangladesh. Besides, it sponsors and aids 15 other orphanages in the country.</p>    <p>There are 1.3 million Rohingya Muslims living in the Kutupalong and Balukhali refugee camps in Bangladesh.</p>  <p> </p>  <p>*Writing by Gozde Bayar</p>  <p> 

Turkish charity delivers Ramadan aid to Rohingya

                BANGLADESH (AA) - A Turkish aid agency has distributed aid among Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.</p>    <p>The Istanbul-based Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) provided food packages to 7,500 Rohingya living in a camp near Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar district on Tuesday. </p>    <p>A total of 3,000 refugees in the Jamtoli camp and 4,500 others in Balukhali and Gundam refugee camps received the aid. </p>    <p>Speaking to Anadolu Agency, IHH representative in Bangladesh Andulhakim Mahmout said, “After the massacres in 2017, this is the second Ramadan that Rohingya Muslims are observing in these camps. There is a significant decrease in the aid coming here this year, although many Muslim countries were providing aid in previous years. We, as IHH, will continue to be a bridge between Rohingya Muslims and philanthropists in Turkey.”</p>    <p>There are 1.3 million Rohingya Muslims living in the Kutupalong and Balukhali refugee camps in Bangladesh. </p>        <p>International aid agencies have called for more support for Rohingya refugees as the holy month of Ramadan begins.

Bangladesh urges Myanmar to ease Rohingya’s return

            By SM Najmus Sakib</p>  <p>DHAKA, Bangladesh (AA) - Bangladesh has urged Myanmar to ensure the basic rights of Rohingya returnees and to take positive steps towards a “well-defined time-bound pathway” to citizenship that would encourage them to return voluntarily.</p>  <p>The suggestions were made Friday at the fourth meeting of the Joint Working Group on the repatriation of displaced Myanmar residents which was held in Myanmar’s capital Naypyidaw. </p>  <p>Mahbub Uz Zaman, secretary (Asia &amp; Pacific) at Bangladesh’s foreign ministry, and U Myint Thu, permanent secretary at Myanmar’s foreign ministry, led their respective countries at the meeting, according to a statement from Bangladesh’s foreign ministry.</p>  <p>Bangladesh particularly stressed the need to remove legal and administrative barriers to ensure the rights of the returnees, including freedom of movement and guaranteeing their safety and security, said the statement.</p>  <p>The two sides also agreed to speed up the verification process of the Myanmar nationals.

Bangladesh also emphasized the need for allowing greater engagement of the international community — including ASEAN and interested partners — in improving the situation on the ground in Rakhine state and proposed an appropriate mechanism for the coordination of actions among those actors to create greater confidence.

Bangladesh Ambassador to Myanmar Manjurul Karim Khan Chowdhury told the local Dhaka Tribune daily that the meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere and both sides were positive.

Myanmar also appeared to be receptive to Bangladesh’s proposal for a visit by a team from Naypyidaw to the Rohingya settlements in Cox’s Bazar to speak to them directly about the conditions in Rakhine, the daily added.

Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and children, have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017.

Since Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).

More than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others were beaten, said the report, titled "Forced Migration of Rohingya: The Untold Experience."

Some 18,000 Rohingya women and girls were raped by Myanmar’s army and police and over 115,000 Rohingya homes were burned down and 113,000 others vandalized, it added.

The UN has also documented mass gang rapes, killings – including of infants and young children – and brutal beatings and disappearances committed by Myanmar state forces.

In a report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity and genocidal intent.

Pollution threatens 1 million Rohingya refugees: Study

               By SM Najmus Sakib </p>  <p>DHAKA, Bangladesh (AA) - Pollution has come to pose serious health risks for some one million Rohingya refugees at one of the world’s largest shelter camps in of Bangladesh, a new study indicated.

Smoke from firewood and exhaust from passing vehicles choke the air in the Cox's Bazar refugee camp, as unfiltered drinking water and the lack of proper sewage have made cases of diarrhea, fever and jaundice ever more frequent.

Refugees in the camp also commonly suffer from various skin, heart and respiratory illnesses, local newspaper The Daily Star reported on Friday, quoting the study.

The study by the International Centre for Climate Change and Development assessed the environmental conditions in the refugee settlements in June-December 2018, with support from the International Organization for Migration.

Istiakh Ahmed, coordinator of the study, underlined the need to act to minimize risks for the refugees, with the level of chemicals such as nitrogen dioxide — which raises risks of respiratory problems — over nearly double the standard.

More than 60% of respondents were being treated for medical conditions like wheezing, tightness of chest, rapid breathing, eczema, high fever, skin and eye irritation and shortness of breath, the study found.

Another 62% of tested groundwater samples were found to contain coliforms — groups of harmful bacteria that dwell in human waste.

Roughly 30% of drains in the camps of made of mud while more than a third are open-air, and only 19% concrete. Waste is often not immediately removed, staying in the camp and polluting the air.

– Persecuted people

The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and children, have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017.

Since Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency.

More than 34,000 Rohingya have been burned alive, and over 114,000 others beaten, said the report, titled "Forced Migration of Rohingya: The Untold Experience."

Some 18,000 Rohingya women and girls have been raped by Myanmar’s army and police with tens of thousands of homes belonging to the minority group demolished, it added.

The UN has also documented mass gang rapes, killings — including of infants and young children — and brutal beatings and disappearances committed by Myanmar state forces.

In a report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity and genocidal intent.

UPDATE 2 – India: 1 million people evacuated as cyclone hits

                             ADDS DETAILS FROM BANGLADESH

By Ahmad Adil

CHANDIGARH, India (AA) – Cyclone Fani, a severe cyclonic storm, made landfall impact on Friday morning in India’s Odisha state, where more than one million people were evacuated ahead of the impact.

“The extremely severe cyclonic storm ‘Fani’ lay centered at 0930 hours IST [Indian Standard Time, 0400GMT] of today, 03rd May, 2019 near lat. 19.80n and long. 85.70e over Odisha coast close to Puri. Latest observation indicates that the eye of the system has completely moved into land by 1000 hours IST of today,” state meteorologists said on Twitter.

The cyclone crossed the Odisha coast close to the Hindu holy town of Puri, a major tourist destination, at 8.00-10.00 a.m. local time.

According to state meteorologists, the storm is very likely to move north-northeastwards and weaken into a very severe cyclonic storm with wind speeds of 90-100 kilometers per hour gusting to 115 kph by Saturday morning. From there it is likely to hit West Bengal and Bangladesh with reduced winds of 60-70 kph gusting to 80 kph.

Meteorologists said the landfall process has started and will continue for the next three hours. The process of the eye entering into land will be completed over the next two hours.

Local media reported that the cyclone hit the coast on Friday morning and has started making its impact felt. “Large areas in the temple town of Puri and other places were submerged as heavy rain battered the coast,” local broadcaster NDTV said on Friday.

Local authorities are on high alert with disaster teams deployed to several locations as 14 districts are expected to be impacted.

Prabhat Ranjan Mohapatra, a senior officer at Odisha's Special Relief Commissioner’s Office, told Anadolu Agency that more than one million residents had been moved to safer locations in the state.

Officials said that by using a location-based alert system, more than 10 million text messages were sent to people in different zones of vulnerability, urging them to take precautions and move to shelters.

According to Philip Klotzbach from Colorado State University, Fani is the strongest cyclone this early in the year in the North Indian Ocean since Cyclone Nargis in 2008.

  • Bangladesh district receives floods

Heavy rains caused floods in at least 25 villages on the coast of Bangladesh as Cyclone Fani is likely to hit the country on Friday midnight.

Also, more than 400,000 people were moved to cyclone shelters on Friday morning from the coastal districts vulnerable to the effects of the storm, Disaster Management and Relief Secretary Md Shah Kamal told reporters.

The number of affected people could swell to 2.5 million, he added.

All vessels have been asked not to venture into the sea until further notice.

River transport operation across Bangladesh has also been suspended.

  • Najmus Sakib contributed to this report from Dhaka

UPDATE – India: 1 million people evacuated as cyclone hits

                             UPDATED/REVISED THROUGHOUT WITH LANDFALL, LATEST STORM PROJECTIONS; UPDATED HEADLINE, DECK

By Ahmad Adil

CHANDIGARH, India (AA) – Cyclone Fani, a severe cyclonic storm, made landfall impact on Friday morning in India’s Odisha state, where more than 1 million people were evacuated ahead of the impact.

“The extremely severe cyclonic storm ‘Fani’ lay centered at 0930 hours IST [Indian Standard Time, 0400GMT] of today, 03rd May, 2019 near lat. 19.80n and long. 85.70e over Odisha coast close to Puri. Latest observation indicates that the eye of the system has completely moved into land by 1000 hours IST of today,” state meteorologists said on Twitter.

The cyclone crossed the Odisha coast close to the Hindu holy town of Puri, a major tourist destination, at 8.00-10.00 a.m. local time.

According to state meteorologists, the storm is very likely to move north-northeastwards and weaken into a very severe cyclonic storm with wind speeds of 90-100 kilometers per hour gusting to 115 kph by Saturday morning. From there it is likely to hit West Bengal and Bangladesh with reduced winds of 60-70 kph gusting to 80 kph.

Meteorologists said the landfall process has started and will continue for the next three hours. The process of the eye entering into land will be completed over the next two hours.

Local media reported that the cyclone hit the coast on Friday morning and has started making its impact felt. “Large areas in the temple town of Puri and other places were submerged as heavy rain battered the coast,” local broadcaster NDTV said on Friday.

Local authorities are on high alert with disaster teams deployed to several locations as 14 districts are expected to be impacted.

Prabhat Ranjan Mohapatra, a senior officer at Odisha's Special Relief Commissioner’s Office, told Anadolu Agency that more than one million residents had been moved to safer locations in the state.

Officials said that by using a location-based alert system, more than 10 million text messages were sent to people in different zones of vulnerability, urging them to take precautions and move to shelters.

According to Philip Klotzbach from Colorado State University, Fani is the strongest cyclone this early in the year in the North Indian Ocean since Cyclone Nargis in 2008.

Russian, Bangladesh foreign ministers meet in Moscow

             By Elena Teslova</p>  <p>MOSCOW (AA) - The question of the oppressed Rohingya people must be solved between Myanmar and Bangladesh via dialogue, Russia’s foreign minister said on Monday.</p>  <p>The international community has to provide support to the two states to find a mutually appropriate solution, Sergey Lavrov told a news conference in the capital Moscow after meeting his Bangladeshi counterpart AK Abdul Momen.</p>  <p>&quot;I don't see any other decision, except bilateral, except a decision based on dialogue, on mutual understanding, as it must be between two neighbors,&quot; Lavrov said.</p>  <p>There is no progress on the repatriation of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar -- which they fled to escape persecution -- but Bangladeshi officials have gathered refugees’ biometric data and now have more precise data on them, said Momen.</p>  <p>This information will help resolve the Rohingya issue, he said.</p>  <p>    <p>- Persecuted people</p>  <p>The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.</p>  <p>According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and children, have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017.</p>  <p>Since Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).</p>  <p>More than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others were beaten, said the report, titled &quot;Forced Migration of Rohingya: The Untold Experience.&quot;</p>  <p>Some 18,000 Rohingya women and girls were raped by Myanmar’s army and police and over 115,000 Rohingya homes were burned down and 113,000 others vandalized, it added.</p>  <p>The UN has also documented mass gang rapes, killings – including of infants and young children – and brutal beatings and disappearances committed by Myanmar state forces.</p>  <p>In a report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity and genocidal intent.</p>  <p> </p>  <p> 

Bangladesh: UN urges continued aid for Rohingya

By Md. Kamruzzaman

ANKARA (AA) – At the end of a joint visit to Rohingya refugee camps in southern Bangladesh, top United Nations officials on Friday called upon the international community to continue supporting critical needs of of the persecuted community.

UN Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi along with other top officials reiterated their commitment to keep working toward safe and sustainable solutions for Rohingya refugees in Myanmar, according to a statement.

"They noted that almost half of the 540,000 refugee children under the age of 12 are currently missing out on education altogether, while the remainder have access only to very limited schooling. Only a handful of teenage children are currently able to access any form of education or training," the UN said.

“This remains one of the world’s biggest refugee crises,” said Grandi according to the statement.

“I saw a great deal of progress, but their situation, especially for women and children, remains fragile. With the current crisis almost two years on we must give refugees the chance to learn, build skills and contribute to their communities while also preparing for reintegration when they can return to Myanmar,” he added.

The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and children, have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017.

Since Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).

More than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others were beaten, said the report, titled "Forced Migration of Rohingya: The Untold Experience".

Some 18,000 Rohingya women and girls were raped by Myanmar’s army and police and over 115,000 Rohingya homes were burned down and 113,000 others vandalized, it added.

The UN has also documented mass gang rapes, killings – including of infants and young children – and brutal beatings and disappearances committed by Myanmar state forces.

In a report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity and genocidal intent.

Turkey’s TIKA donates school equipment in Bangladesh

             By Md. Kamruzzaman</p>  <p>ANKARA (AA) - Turkey's state-run aid agency donated educational equipment in Bangladesh on the occasion of the April 23 National Sovereignty and Children's Day of Turkey, an agency official said on Wednesday.</p>  <p>Visiting two schools, including one run for autistic children in the capital Dhaka, Turkish officials distributed school dresses, sewing machine, sports tools and shuttles for students on behalf of Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA).</p>  <p>“The National Sovereignty and Children's Day is very important for Turkish citizens,” said TIKA Coordinator Ismail Gundogdu.</p>  <p>He added: “We are away from our homeland now. We want to share our happiness in a such important day with you [teenage students]. We love you.”</p>  <p>Enis Faruk Erdem, deputy chief of mission in Turkish Embassy in Dhaka, and deputy TIKA coordinator Emrah Ekinci were also present in the program.</p>  <p>Bangladeshi school authorities thanked Turkey for its continuous support in different sectors of Bangladesh.