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Bangladesh building 14,000 new shelters for Rohingya refugees

Dhaka has expressed concerns over exodus of Rohingyas from Myanmar's Rakhine state

Press Trust of India  |  Dhaka 

Rohingya Muslims, Rohingyas, Rohingya refugees
Rohingya Muslims walk to the shore after arriving on a boat from Myanmar to Bangladesh in Shah Porir Dwip. (File photo: AP | PTI)

on Sunday began constructing 14,000 new shelters for the more than 400,000 Muslim fleeing violence in neighbouring to ensure they remain confined to an area and do not fan out across the country.

The have been fleeing to for three weeks to escape a military crackdown in Myanmar's state, which the UN has said amounts to ethnic cleansing.

says the crackdown is a response to last month's deadly attacks on police by militants in the northern state and denies it is targeting civilians.

has been overwhelmed by the exodus and struggling to house the in the shelters being built with assistance from UN and other organisations.

"Work to construct the 14,000 temporary shelters began today (Sunday) at Kutupalang," a disaster management ministry spokesman told PTI, adding the army has been asked to build them in 10 days.

Kutupalang, near the southeastern Cox's Bazar city, is one of the areas where Bangladesh is setting up the shelters.

"The prime objective of the initiative is to prevent the refugees from fanning out and handle the crisis properly," disaster management and relief ministry secretary Shah Kamal said.

Bangladesh authorities have restricted the from leaving the border areas, fearing it might get difficult for the authorities to identify them later.

The police headquarters in a directive to local administration asked them to monitor the movement of the refugees. Police last week detained 20 in central Manikganj district, about 450 kilometres from Cox's Bazar.

The police in a statement said the refugees have been told not to take shelter at their friends' or acquaintances' in Bangladesh, and neighbourhood residents have been asked not to rent houses to the refugees.

"They should stay in the designated camps until they return to their country... They cannot travel from one place to another by roads, railways or waterways," it said.

First Published: Sun, September 17 2017. 18:55 IST