• Friday, Jun 21, 2019
  • Last Update : 02:10 am

Rain hits 11,000 Rohingyas hard in Cox's Bazar

  • Published at 11:41 pm June 12th, 2018
  • Last updated at 12:23 am June 13th, 2018
Monsoon rains have left most of the Rohingya refugee camps waterlogged like this, apart from causing dangerous flooding and landslides, in Cox's Bazar Courtesy

Aid agencies have reported over 2,350 shelters damaged or destroyed

Torrential rain accompanied by storms hit Rohingya camps in Cox's Bazar, causing 37 incidents of landslides and leaving one child dead and several people injured.

"Nearly 2,500 refugee families, with some 11,000 people in all, have been affected," UNHCR Spokesperson Andrej Mahecic said at a press briefing in Geneva on Tuesday.

The first heavy rain of this year swept through Rohingya refugee settlements in Cox's Bazar this weekend, marking the start of monsoon season.

"This is an early test for refugees and humanitarian agencies working to support the government of Bangladesh on the response efforts," he said.

The spokesperson said they had estimated that up to 200,000 refugees could be at risk of landslides and floods. Among them, more than 41,000 are at high risk of landslides.

"But, due to the hilliness of the terrain, limited availability of flat land is a major challenge to relocating the most at risk families. So far, more than 14,000 refugees at high risk of landslides across the settlements have been relocated to safer areas. More land is urgently needed," Andrej said.

According to the Bangladesh Meteorological Department nearly 400mm of rain was measured in Cox's Bazar since Sunday.

"According to damage assessments, more than 1,000 shelters, 10 water points, 167 latrines, one health facility, and one food distribution site have been damaged," Andrej said.

In March, the United Nations launched a joint response plan for the Rohingya humanitarian crisis, seeking US$951 million to meet the immediate needs of more than 880,000 refugees and over 330,000 Bangladeshis in communities affected by the crisis.

"To date, the appeal is just over 21% funded," Andrej said adding that it is critical that humanitarian agencies receive early and flexible funding to save lives and improve the living conditions for refugees during the monsoon season, as well as to continue providing timely assistance and protection.

Meanwhile, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said the same day that the conditions in the refugee camps were deteriorating as the torrential rain continue to trigger landslides and floods.

IOM, the UN Migration Agency, is assessing the damage and responding to the situation, battling the ongoing strong winds and rain.

"It's been pouring continuously since last night. The roads are becoming very muddy and inaccessible. We will only be able to assess the full damage when the rain stops," Zanagir Alam, IOM site management engineer, said.

In total, aid agencies have reported over 2,350 shelters damaged or destroyed.

A total of 85 latrines have also been reported damaged by the storms over the past two days in Ukhiya and Teknaf upazilas where IOM coordinates water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) aid.