Sirajul Islam, 31, cannot remember anything about the devastating cyclone that hit the coastal areas of Bangladesh in 1991. He was merely a one-year-old toddler back then when the cyclone forced his entire family to migrate from Kutubdia to the northern beach of Cox's Bazar.
Thousands of climate refugee families like Sirajul's erected shanties with bamboo and plastic sheet, amidst the green patches of tamarisk and coconut trees on the shore. But over the years, their colonies became overcrowded.
Sirajul also had a grocery shop there. When he went out fishing, his wife Salma Akter used to manage the shop.
In July this year, the government relocated 600 families, including Sirajul's, to Khurushkul Ashrayan Prokolpo, a shelter project on the bank of the River Bakkhai in Cox's Bazar.
The government claims tthe facility is the world's largest climate refugee rehabilitation project.
We found Sirajul sitting on a wooden bench at the ground floor of Jhinuk – one of the 19 buildings under the project. His wife Salma was also there, managing a makeshift grocery shop.
Their eight-year-old son Shahidul Islam, suddenly appeared carrying a heavy bag on his back. The boy asked his parents for fees for his private tutor.
Sirajul and Salma both did not study beyond primary school due to economic hardships. But the couple does not want their son to share a similar fate.
As there is no school in the project area, they are supporting their son to continue his study. Before their relocation, Shahidul was a class-1 student of the Prakashya Adarsha Academy – a kindergarten near Kutubdia Para, where they lived.
The accommodation they have in the project is a sharp contrast to their previous house at Kutubdiapara. Now they are living in an apartment with two rooms, one kitchen and one latrine and one bathroom on the fourth floor. There is water and electricity supply round the clock. All metered.
But there is no school for the children, no prayer rooms for Muslims and Hindus and no health complex for ailing people. "We have modern accommodation facilities here. But we have very little scope for income," Sirajul regretted.
In early May last year, cyclone Fani hit the coastal district, leaving many areas badly affected. Sirajul's grocery shop at Kutubdia Para was damaged badly, causing a loss of around Tk3 lakh.
He could recover grocery products worth Tk50,000 only. We found some of the remains on the ground floor of Jhinuk. The products were poorly organised on a broken shelf.
Sirajul guided us to his sister Jannatul Begum's 456.07 square-feet flat on the second floor in that building. There was one queen-size bed and an almirah – the only two furniture they have in their living room.
Jannatul and two other girls were weaving garlands with seashells, sitting on the bed, while her baby girl was taking a nap on the floor.
Jannatul said it has been challenging for her fisherman husband Mohammad Hossain to generate sufficient income living in the Khuruskul Project.
Sirajul explained how fishing has become challenging for them. He said from Kutubdia Para, where they lived before, it was possible to reach Fishery Ghat in only 15 minutes by foot. Fishermen could reach the ghat before 6am and go fishing in the sea.
But it is not easy to go there from the project area as public transportation in Khurushkul is not developed yet.
"One or two three-wheelers are not enough for us to commute from the project area to the ghat. It has become tough for us to join the fishing fleet on time. Now, we fish in the sea hardly two days a week," Sirajul said.
Jannatul added, "We are waiting for the proposed facilities for Shutki Mohal (dry-fish yard)."
Abdul Motaleb and Mojibur Rahman, two other residents of the Khurushkul project, echoed similar sentiments.
For Shahedul Islam, another resident who lost 61 family members during the 1991 cyclone, security is a big concern. He complained that there is no security in the project area.
He explained, "The villagers of neighbouring Monupara do not accept us easily. The young goons frequently stalk our girls and young women. If we protest, they insult us."
Shahedul said the refugees would soon arrange a human-chain to draw the Prime Minister's attention to their security concerns.