Hyderabad: Rohingyas wait to find an anchor after years adrift

It is time India and other countries accept and accommodate Rohingya refugees, considering the persecution they face in the country of their origin | All photos by K Venkateshwarlu

When stuck between the devil and the deep sea, rickety bamboo shacks on a flood-prone foreshore of Balapur lake in Hyderabad may have looked like a safer option to scores of Rohingya refugees fleeing persecution and ethnic cleansing in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.

But on the night of October 14 last year, their little world—Camp Number 30—of 45 tenements turned topsy-turvy, with unprecedented rain in the catchment area pushing up the water level by almost 12 feet. Leaving their bamboo huts and sparse belongings, they rushed to the rooftops of two-storeyed buildings nearby.

“There was heavy rain, and within a few hours, we were all under waist-deep water.  The sudden gush of water was such that we thought we would all get drowned,” recalls Mohammed Kamaal, 35, who works as a mason.

Kamaal says the families—who stayed huddled on the rooftops for two days—were shifted to a marriage hall where they survived for the next few days on relief extended by NGOs.

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