2.15 lakh Rohingyas at risk of landslides, floods

Staff Correspondent | Published: 00:05, Jun 15,2018 | Updated: 23:52, Jun 14,2018

 
 

Kutupalong Rohingya refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. — Reuters file photo

Aid workers have warned that 2.15 lakh Rohingyas are at risk of landslides and floods as mudslides and gusts of wind have damaged structures, bridges, culverts, drainage channels, access roads as well as water points, latrines and other facilities in camps.
The Inter Sector Coordination Group, a coordinating body of the UN and international humanitarian agencies working on Rohingya crisis in Cox’s Bazar, in a monsoon emergency preparedness and response report on Thursday said that weather conditions continued to pose serious protection, health and other risks to refugees, especially to women and children who represent over 80 per cent of the Rohingya population in the district.
About 2,15,000 estimated refugees were in areas at risk of landslides or floods, 42,000 estimated refugees in highest-risk areas, prioritised for relocation due to imminent risks, and 15,000 estimated refugees already relocated from highest-risk areas, the report has said.
Quoting Bangladesh Meteorological Department officials, the ISCG said that between June 9 and June 13 and on the onset of heavy rains, Cox’s Bazar received 552 millimetres of rain reflecting 66 per cent of the total average rainfall for the month of June based on rainfall over the last 10 years.
Heavy rains affected 17,977 individuals and damaged 2,017 shelters between June 9 and June 13.
Rains also damaged two health facilities, 21 water points and 272 latrines.
Health and water, sanitation and hygiene sectors were working closely to decommission damaged latrines and water points and ensure safety of the population.
Torrential rains have left over 100 protection spaces at risk of landslides and flooding and temporarily closed 37 child-friendly spaces.
Rains with intervals continued on Thursday adding to the woes of Rohingya people living in tents and shanties made with polythene sheets. They said that they were virtually passing nights without sleep while many parents kept their infants in the lap in futile attempt to save them from rainwaters.
Rains since June 9 have caused many Rohingya camps go underwater, increasing fears for further landsides in the highly congested refugee camps.
Most of the Rohingya people are living on the slopes of hills after destroying trees and loosening the soil structure.
Rains inundated large portions of camps in low-lying areas and drenched and mudded almost all the roads.
Many Rohingyas alleged that they were having severe problems doing household chores, mainly cooking, collecting safe drinking water and going to latrine and coming from it, said Rohingya people living in Balukhali camp.
A rain-triggered landslide killed a woman on Wednesday and a Rohingya child on Monday while a Rohingya youth died on Tuesday as a tree fell on him amid strong winds and heavy monsoon rainfall. Another Rohingya child was killed in a landslide in May.
The UNHCR on Tuesday said that torrential rains and winds up to 70 kilometres per hour caused at least 89 reported incidents, including 37 landslide incidents, causing several injuries and one confirmed fatality. Nearly 2,500 refugee families, some 11,000 people in all, were affected.
About 7,00,000 Rohingya people crossed into Bangladesh fleeing unbridled murder, arson and rape during ‘security operations’ by Myanmar military in Rakhine, what the UN denounced as ethnic cleansing since August 25, 2017.
The influx of over 11 lakh Myanmar refugees into Bangladesh since 1978 led to indiscriminate deforestation and hill cutting.

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