Thu Sep 21 11:47:08 EAT 2017
Nine dead as Red Cross Rohingya aid truck crashes in Bangladesh
A Red Cross truck carrying aid for Rohingya Muslim refugees crashed in Bangladesh on Thursday killing at least nine people, police said.
- The accident highlighted difficulties faced by aid agencies as they struggle to reach some 420,000 Rohingya refugees who have fled violence in Myanmar.
Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh /AFP/. A Red Cross truck carrying aid for Rohingya Muslim refugees crashed in Bangladesh on Thursday killing at least nine people, police said.
The accident highlighted difficulties faced by aid agencies as they struggle to reach some 420,000 Rohingya refugees who have fled violence in Myanmar.
Officials said the truck was carrying food to some of the several thousand refugees stranded in a no-man's-land on the Bangladesh-Myanmar border.
The driver lost control of the truck on a rain-soaked narrow road and went into a ditch near the Chhakdala border post, some 50 kilometres (32 miles) from Cox's Bazar, they said.
"Nine people were killed including six on the spot and three in a hospital," Yasir Arafat, deputy police chief of the Bandarban border district, told AFP.
At least 10 people were injured.
"The victims were labourers sitting on top of 10 tonnes of food items," Border Guard Bangladesh commander Lieutenant Colonel AnwarulAzim told AFP.
"The road was narrow and was damaged by rain from the past few days," he said.
The truck was taking rice, salt, sugar and other supplies to Rohingya Muslims as part of the International Red Cross Committee and local Red Crescent Society's massive aid operation.
"It was carrying 21 days' food to some 500 (Rohingya) Muslim families who fled violence in Myanmar and were now stranded on the border," ICRC spokeswoman Rayhan Sultana Toma told AFP.
Toma said the workers on the truck were porters, needed to carry the food on their heads to the border because the road ends two kilometres from the frontier.
"It is a very remote area. It is very challenging to carry the food and other supplies to these thousands of people stranded on this part of the border," she said.
Aid agencies have launched a huge relief operation in the border districts of Cox's Bazar and Bandarban but they say they have been taken by surprise by the scope of the influx from Myanmar.
"We're providing aid for 50,000 people, many of them in desperate need for food and basic items for survival," Red Crescent society general secretary MozaharulHaq said.