KUTUPALONG REFUGEE CAMP, Bangladesh (Reuters) – The first Rohingya refugees who arrived on Jorina Katun’s farmland in Bangladesh last year were worn out and traumatized after fleeing violence in neighboring Myanmar. They wept and begged to stay, and Katun, moved by their plight, said yes.
“I really regret that,” she said. “They said they would stay for only a month. They’re still here and more are coming.” Katun now has 25 Rohingya families living on a patch of land where she used to grow rice and vegetables.
Since August, nearly 700,000 Rohingya have crossed from Myanmar’s Rakhine State into Bangladesh. Makeshift camps housing the Rohingya sprawl across thousands of acres of what was once a government forest reserve, butting up against – and sometimes overwhelming – Bangladeshi homes and land. Jorina Katun lives on the edge of the largest such camp.