Former U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed concern that monsoon floods could threaten the lives of Rohingya refugees in sprawling camps in Bangladesh. Ban, who was visiting in his role as head of The Hague-based Global Commission on Adaptation to climate change, or GCA, said he was "saddened and dismayed" by what he saw while visiting the Kutupalong camp Wednesday in the southern coastal district of Cox's Bazar, where more than 1 million Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar have fled military-backed persecution in their home country.
The U.N.'s children's agency UNICEF said earlier this week in a statement that thousands of families living in the refugee camps and Bangladeshi communities in surrounding villages are at risk from flooding and landslides caused by heavy rainfall in the last few days. The situation is particularly grim in the camps, though many of the more than 4,000 families affected have been relocated to safer areas, it said. One 7-year-old boy drowned following heavy rains, and two children were injured, the agency said. It said that schools and other facilities serving more than 60,000 children have been damaged.
Rohingya Muslims are the most persecuted minority in the world according to U.N. figures and continue to suffer from oppression under the Myanmar government, the army and Buddhist extremists. Over the past decade, thousands of Rohingya have been killed since violence broke out in 2008, causing hundreds of thousands to flee their homeland for Bangladesh, Malaysia and other countries in the region. At least 9,000 Rohingya were killed in Rakhine State from Aug. 25 to Sept. 24, 2017, according to Doctors without Borders (MSF).