New York to Open Tent Camp for Migrants on Randalls Island
Randy’s Island, the New York City island where many African American, Latino, and Asian immigrants from Puerto Rico, West Africa, the Indian subcontinent, and other parts of the globe were brought to work as domestic servants, was transformed last year into a tent camp for refugees. Now the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is considering setting up similar tent camps for migrants from Myanmar.
On Friday, April 3, as part of the Department of Health’s “Safe City” campaign, the Times Union ran a story about Randalls Island where a tent camp for migrants from Myanmar is being planned. The Randalls-Myanmar tent camp is the brainchild of New York City public health officer Dr. Nandita Rani, who is overseeing the city’s response to the arrival of a large number of Rohingya refugees in New York City.
The refugee crisis in Myanmar began in early August, when Rohingya villagers launched an attack on police and soldiers. The attack, led by Buddhist and military leaders, sparked widespread protests. The military responded by carrying out a brutal crackdown against Rohingya. By October, more than 5,000 people, including more than 400 children, were killed over the past two months.
The Myanmar government has called the Rohingya a “pure race” and has issued no place of refuge to those fleeing the violence. Many who remain have fled to neighboring Bangladesh, a country that considers itself a democratic leader and protects its own minorities.
City officials now realize that the refugee crisis is unlikely to end anytime soon, and a rapid solution is required. City health officials are considering creating a tent camp for refugees on Randalls Island, an island between the Rockaways and Queens. The camp would be located close to the Queens Medical Center at the foot of Roosevelt Island, one of the city’s largest hospitals and a center for the treatment of infectious diseases.
“This situation is not going away,” Dr. Rani told the Times Union. “The next step for me is to get the city to step up and make