TURKEY

Diyanet Foundation gives solar power packages to Rohingya

DIYANET FOUNDATION GIVES SOLAR POWER PACKAGES TO ROHINGYA

A group affiliated with Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate has distributed solar panel systems to 500 refugee families living in Rohingya camps in southeastern Bangladesh, said an official of the group on Wednesday.

Abdullah Ucak, Bangladesh coordinator for the Turkiye Diyanet Foundation, told Anadolu Agency the solar systems were distributed to refugees in the Kutupalong Rohingya camp in the Cox's Bazar district.

The border district in southeastern Bangladesh near Myanmar is hosting some 1 million Rohingya refugees, including over 650,000 who fled attacks on the minority Muslim community starting late last August.

Ucak said the solar packages include three energy-saving lamps, a solar panel, and a charger.

The Diyanet Foundation will distribute a total of 2,000 solar panel systems as part of its humanitarian support to the devastated community, Ucak added.

He said the group has been doing aid work in the camps, including digging wells and sanitation systems and building mosques and shelters for the Rohingya.

"We have built four mosques, six bridges, and four deep-tube wells on the 'Turkish hill' in the Kutupalong camp," he said, adding that they also launched a project to build 120 bamboo shelter centers in the area.

The group also distributes food and hygienic supplies to refugees on a daily basis.

Fleeing violence

Since Aug. 25, 2017, more than 750,000 refugees, mostly children and women, have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community, according to Amnesty International.

The refugees are fleeing a military operation in which security forces and Buddhist mobs have killed men, women and children, looted homes, and torched Rohingya villages.

At least 9,000 Rohingya were killed in Rakhine state from Aug. 25 to Sept. 24 last year, according to Doctors Without Borders.

In a report published last Dec. 12, the doctors' group said the deaths of 71.7 percent or 6,700 Rohingya were caused by violence. They include 730 children below the age of five.

Turkey has been at the forefront of providing aid to Rohingya refugees, and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has raised the issue at the UN.

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.

The UN documented mass gang rapes, killings -- including of infants and young children -- brutal beatings, and disappearances committed by security personnel.

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

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