Rohingyas face fresh ordeal in crowded camps
Cox's Bazar: Mariam Akhtar, 23, is desperately searching for her young daughter two weeks after arriving from Myanmar in Cox's Bazar, a southeastern coastal district in Bangladesh.
Already traumatised by the extreme violence she and her family suffered in Buthidaung district in Myanmar, Mariam now faces fresh agony.
"There are agents looking for opportunities around the clock to lure and smuggle out the children," says Sarwar Chowdhury, Ukhia upazila chairman.
"With God's blessings I was able to reach this camp in Kutupalong alive. But where is my safety here when I have a child lost?", asks the mother of three small children.
Faria Islam Jeba, a mother of four, also expressed fears when this correspondent approached a group of women in Kutupalong camp. It is the biggest of more than 30 refugee camps scattered across a 35 km stretch of land between Teknaf and Ukhia, two of the small towns in southern Cox's Bazar where Rohingya refugees are still pouring in every day by the thousands from neighbouring Myanmar.
Jeba experienced rapes and beatings in Myanmar. She says her brothers were shot by Burmese security forces. But Bangladesh isn't the safe haven she'd hoped for.
"I feel so scared, especially at night when it is dark all around. The hilly terrain and the meandering, muddy roads here make it hard to keep watch on my children when they go out."
Mariam and Jeba are among many young single mothers who say they lost children inside the camps. The disappearances have been documented by the government and the aid agencies working in the crowded camps.