Bangladesh monsoon rains: Rohingya shelter camps washed away


Heavy monsoon rains in Bangladesh has caused severe structural damages to camps hosting more than one million Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, according to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

“The situation in the camps is growing more desperate with every drop of rain that falls,” Manuel Pereira, IOM’s Emergency Coordinator in Cox’s Bazar, the district in south-east Bangladesh, was quoted as saying by PTI. “You have close to one million people living on hilly, muddy terrain with no trees or shrubs left to hold the ground in place. People and their makeshift shelters are being washed away in the rains.”

The monsoon in Bangladesh runs from June to September and for months now UN agencies have been warning of the threat posed by the rains. Incidents such as landslides and water logging have already been recorded ever since the rains began on Saturday.

The rains in Bangladesh have killed at least 12 people since Monday and this include two Rohingya Muslims.

One of the Rohingya casualties is a two-and-a-half-year-old boy who died after a mud wall fell on him. The second is a man who died after a tree fell on him.

Government agencies have been working round-the-clock to relocate tens of thousands of people. As of the first week of June, more than 28,000 refugees had been relocated, reported Reuters, based on the information provided by the Inter Sector Coordination Group that oversees relief work in the camps in Cox’s Bazar.

According to an assessment by the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) and the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center, this monsoon is expected to put about 203,000 people in the Kutupalong camp in danger.

The number of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh has swelled since last August following a clash between the army and Rohingya insurgents in Myanmar. More than 87,000 Rohingya fled to Bangladesh from October 2016 to July 2017, according to the IOM.