Deadly monsoon claims lives in Rohingya camps

Published 15.07.2019 00:07
Updated 15.07.2019 00:40

At least 10 people have died and thousands of shanty homes have been destroyed since April by monsoon rains in overcrowded Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh's southeast, officials said Sunday.

Bangladesh's meteorological department said the Cox's Bazar district, home to nearly one million Rohingya Muslims who have fled a military crackdown in Myanmar, has seen at least 58.5 centimeters of rain since July 2. An International Organization for Migration (IOM) spokeswoman said heavy rains triggered mudslides in the refugee camps, which are mostly built on hill-slopes, destroying some 4,889 tarpaulin and bamboo shacks. More than 200 landslides have been reported since April in the camps, built near the border with Myanmar, and at least 10 people were killed, a U.N. report said.

In the last week alone, two Rohingya minors died and another 6,000 people were left without shelter because of heavy rains. Displaced refugees said they were suffering as rain disrupted logistics and daily activity in the camps. World Food Program (WFP) spokeswoman Gemma Snowdon said they had to significantly increase assistance in the camps to cope up with the monsoon.

"So far 11,400 people have required the extra food assistance due to the heavy rains, compared to 7,000 during the whole of July 2018," she said. Last year, the U.N. refugee agency moved 30,000 Rohingya out of areas considered at high risk of landslides and floods. Heavy rains frequently trigger flooding and landslides in Bangladesh's southeastern hill districts, and in 2017 at least 170 people were killed.

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