“Francesco who?” replies Rahamatullah, a man in his 30s who arrived here with his wife and four children, when we ask him what he expects from Bergoglio’s visit. We meet him in the mobile clinic run by the Italian Red Cross and Bangladeshi Red Crescent, in the so-called extension zone of the Kutupalong camp, accessible thanks to a new road cut through the hills by the Bangladeshi army.
“Over there they are putting up new tents, day after day,” says Riccardo Bagattin, a field officer of the Red Cross in Cox’s Bazar, pointing toward the horizon. Inside the clinic, managed together with the Bangladeshi Red Crescent, Dr. Erika Dellavalle and nurse Fabio Antonucci are treating patients, mostly women and children.
We are in an “extended” area, a large new plot destined for tents. In spite of the agreement reached with Myanmar, the Rohingya families continue to cross the border, as we can see for ourselves visiting the no man’s land. After crossing the Burmese border, once they arrive in the area not accessible to the Burmese military, thousands of refugees are waiting for Bangladeshi soldiers to give them the green light to get to the Transit Center of UNHCR, the U.N. organization for refugees.
“The flow has decreased, but it has not stopped,” Olivia Headon, a spokeswoman for the International Organization for Migration, tells il manifesto. To address this situation, “long-term policies are being considered,” as we are facing one of the worst humanitarian crises in recent history.
Pope Francis’ commitment, while important, will not solve the situation. The Rohingyas know little about him, but they hope he can still help them. “If he is a powerful person, we hope that he can help. Here we are safe, but we cannot live like this for long,” says Nur Jonayat Baser, who was also forced to leave Burma. He has been here for three months and is still waiting to see what his future will be.