A successful working relationship between the government and relief agencies has enabled the safe sheltering of an estimated , Rohingya who have crossed the border since August , fleeing a brutal military campaign that the U. On a recent visit to the camps, I saw vast settlements of ramshackle temporary huts of bamboo and tarpaulin which form one of the most crowded refugee camps in the world.
They have caused significant environmental damage since they have encroached on a once-dense forest reserve, uprooting trees and leaving the area dangerously vulnerable to flooding and landslides, as well as displacing endangered Asian elephants. The annual monsoon rains are set to begin within weeks and aid organizations fear a humanitarian catastrophe if a cyclone hits the camps which have been fortunate to be spared one over the last 18 months.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has suggested Bhasan Char could accommodate up to one million people -- fueling speculation that it could be expanded to accommodate all Rohingya refugees residing in Bangladesh. Dhaka has agreed that all relocations would be informed and voluntary, in line with international refugee guidelines, despite repeatedly insisting that dealing with the Rohingya is an "internal matter.
The minister met with three senior UN officials last week, telling them they would have to take the blame for any casualties in the Cox's Bazar camps due to the monsoon.
There Are No Easy Choices
Yanghee Lee, the U. Bangladeshi officials have acknowledged concerns about transportation links to the island.
It is difficult to access without the navy," Mohammed Rahman, a deputy commissioner at the Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commission, has acknowledged. But he added "that conditions for refugees will be better on the island. The Rohingya remain steadfast in their opposition to any move. They cite fears of separated families, the risk of flooding on the island and the lack of education and health care services. The Bangladesh government wants to take refugee community leaders to the island to convince them of its merits. Having committed to voluntary relocations, Dhaka is understandably anxious to avoid Bhasan Char becoming one of the world's most expensive white elephants.
The reality is that this would likely be the final destination for the stateless refugees. We will become a forgotten people," said Amina Khatun, 45, a mother of four, a camp inhabitant who fled her home in Myanmar. Repatriation is a key focus for international agencies, which are also pushing for justice through the International Criminal Court. But these goals are unlikely to be achieved because of the lack of cooperation of the Myanmar government. It is not clear how aware those living in the camps are of their dwindling chances of returning to Myanmar, though unrealistic hopes for repatriation will hamper support for any permanent move to Bhasan Char or elsewhere.
With the coming monsoon season likely to force many refugees from their camps, it is possible that their opposition could weaken.
So, "covertly" send small commando-style units of a dozen or so trainers to teach the rebels how to use the weapons and how to fight a semi-modern army. Result: Arabs on all sides may see even small numbers of American or Western troops as just another attempt to put them down and get their oil. Jam military and commercial radio transmissions in Libya. Risk: It's probably against international law, as President Clinton argued during the Rwandan genocide of , which was driven by radio calls for massacre and genocides. The risk there could be regret.
Years later, Clinton would say not jamming was the worst decision of his presidency. Find a way to bribe military men around Gadhafi to abandon him or, better, assassinate him. Risk: As in South Vietnam after the killing of President Diem by his own soldiers, we ended up with worse leaders -- and worse than them, we broke the country and then we owned it.
It became our war rather than a civil war. Work through that most unreliable of allies, Saudi Arabia. They supply the money, we provide the force. Risk: The Saudis destabilize themselves, which is not a good idea if you are addicted to oil, as we are. This produces , tonnes of CO2 - the equivalent of driving to the moon and back 1, times. Decreasing our reliance on fossil fuels and switching to greener energy sources is crucial to cutting carbon emissions.
Energy consumers need to reduce their own consumption by tackling energy waste. This will no doubt be an uphill battle. Schneider Electric research shows that your average UK energy consumer 74 per cent already believes they are already doing enough to reduce their energy consumption. The secret is being more energy efficient or wasting less energy. Ironically, digitisation holds the key.
Choices Pregnancy & Health
For the average consumer, an IoT-connected smart meter can raise awareness of how much energy they are consuming and the amount they are spending on it, encouraging them to lessen both. Doing so not only reduces the amount of energy wasted but helps save money. Our figures suggest that just 18 per cent of potential energy savings have been realised in buildings to date, meaning 82 per cent remains untapped. Domestic dwellings alone are responsible for 23 per cent of UK carbon emissions, and 65 per cent could benefit from energy efficiency improvements. Currently, there is little incentive for businesses or consumers to consider energy waste as part of the climate change issue or their responsibility.
Renewable energy generation is just one part of the solution to help combat climate change. Ultimately, it will always be easier — for both ourselves and the planet — to save a unit of energy than it will be to create it.