POST TIME: 12 September, 2019 01:18:00 AM
Monsoon in Cox's Bazar
Agencies worried over Rohingyas
Diplomatic Correspondent, Dhaka

Agencies worried over Rohingyas

International agencies have expressed their concern over continued rain and winds that have impacted the Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar since Saturday. According to the Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG) partners—UN agencies, such as IOM, UNHCR, and WFP, and NGOs—working in support of the Bangladesh government, thousands in the host community and Rohingya camps have been affected by the inclement weather.

While no injuries have been reported in the camps, the past 48 hours have seen 15 landslides, 25 rainstorms, and five flooding incidents, causing temporary displacement of 14,801 individuals from 4,543 households, partial damage to 427 shelters and complete destruction of 66 shelters. An estimated 16,190 individuals from 4,842 households have been affected by the flooding.

In the Teknaf area, two Bangladeshi children have reportedly been killed and 10 people injured following a landslide.Cox’s Bazar experiences some of the highest annual rainfall in Bangladesh, where landslides, floods, winds and waterlogging are common occurrences.

“The rain and wind are endangering lives and causing hardship on the ground. Our teams are working round-the-clock to provide emergency services, repairs and relocations. While we are responding to the immediate effects of the rains, we remain focused on long-term disaster management and risk mitigation,” said Manuel Pereira, IOM Bangladesh deputy chief of mission.

On Tuesday, about 4,000 households were displaced due to showers in Camp 26 alone in the Teknaf area, which was the worst affected. Some were relocated on an emergency basis to 15 designated communal facilities to ensure immediate safety, while others moved were with their families.

UNHCR protection staff and partners are working to ensure the safety of refugees and to reunite separated family members. Shelter, food and access to clean drinking water are being provided.

“We’re working closely with partners and the government authorities to assist affected families. We also acknowledge the efforts of the refugees themselves as well as members of the host community at the centre of the response,” said Marin Din Kajdomcaj, UNHCR head of office, Cox’s Bazar.

“We’ve trained some 3,000 refugees so they can respond to emergencies and reduce the risks faced by the community in disaster,” Marin added.

In the past couple of days, humanitarian agencies have distributed shelter kits, hot meals, and high-energy biscuits to families impacted by the storms.

“The WFP is well prepared for emergency situations such as this. We have assisted 12,500 people with extra food distribution, including 6,000 hot meals and 6,500 boxes of high-energy biscuits. Additionally, our engineering and disaster risk reduction teams are assessing the impact of rains and are on standby to ensure access to food and vital services are restored, if needed,” said Peter Guest, WFP emergency coordinator, Cox’s Bazar.

“Funding is still urgently needed to sustain preparedness and response for the remainder of the monsoon season to replenish stocks, improve communications infrastructure, repair monsoon-related damage, and increase the capacity of mobile response teams. Only 38 per cent of the response is funded, compromising essential services as well as the health and well-being of both the Rohingya and host community populations,” said Nicole Epting, ISCG senior coordinator.

The ISCG partners are continuing to monitor weather and assist the affected communities. With rains expected to continue, engineers are concerned over damage to paths, bridges and drainage systems.