ACTNews, COX’S BAZAR – The sky has been filled with dark clouds for almost a week in Cox’s Bazar. The sunrays can’t get through the thick cloud. These dark clouds indicate the coming of the monsoon storm.
The dark clouds and violent storm bring heavy rains on the soil of Bangladesh.
The storm becomes another crisis for almost a million population of Rohingya refugees, worsening their already difficult life. Not only that they have to cram inside the tents in refugee settlements in Bangladesh, but they have to face the flood and landslide resulted by the heavy rain.
The heavy rain can last for hours, even up to a day. The river was overflowed, turning the ground into piles of mud. The monsoon storm in early July sweeps through the refugee settlements in Cox’s Bazar.
Aksi Cepat Tanggap (ACT) partner in Bangladesh explained that the storm has hit the region since Wednesday (7/4). The long duration of the heavy rain, that could last for days, has made life more difficult for the Rohingyas.
Unfortunately, the makeshift tents made of thin tarpaulin and bamboo were not strong enough to endure the strong current of the flood. Numerous landslide incidents were reported to have hit several refugee camps.
“There were at least 89 flood and landslide incidents caused by the heavy rain on July 4th, including 37 landslides of immense proportion that hit Kutupalong,” wrote Rahardiansyah on a report released by Global Humanitarian Response (GHR) – ACT.
According to another report from UNHCR, more than 900 refugee shelters and 200 latrines in Rohingya refugee camps throughout Cox’s Bazar were devastated by the flood.
The paths that connect each camp become almost impossible to walk on. From the pictures sent by ACT partners in Cox’s Bazar, it showed that these paths are filled with thick mud.
The Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh were built on terraces and hills. In Kutupalong camp, inhabited by more than 250 thousand refugees, the soil has also turned to mud. The heavy rain has caused landslides in several areas, where the soil collapsed and bury everything beneath.
One Rohingya child killed by landslide
A Cox’s Bazar-based ACT medical volunteer, Dr. Emam Hosain, reported that the flood and landslide in recent week has buried a Rohingya child.
“On Thursday (7/5), at 11 a.m., I was contacted by the community leader of the refugee camp. He informed me that four refugees consisting of three women and a child were buried by landslide. This misfortune happened when the rain was falling heavily. A big pile of mud fell beneath the slope in Balukhali refugee camp block D,” explained Dr. Hosain.
The Rohingya child killed by the landslide was identified as Farok (2-year-old), son of Abdus Sukur. “Other injured victims of the landslide were Mariam Khatun (45), Samudra Khatun (35), Rokeya Begum (26), and Rokeya Begum’s daughter named Umme Habiba, three-year-old,” explained Dr. Hosain.
According to the local media in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladeshi Meteorological Agency has warned that the rainy season starts in early July. The heavy rain that will continue in upcoming weeks will be another difficult crisis for 700,000 Rohingya refugees.
“The women and children are the most vulnerable to the effects of the rain and landslides in the refugee camps. The flood will also bring another problem: deteriorating sanitary conditions that may lead to the spread of cholera,” said Rahadiansyah of GHR – ACT.
Emergency measures to respond to the effects of flood and landslide in Rohingya refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar will prioritize food and medical aid distribution.
“Insha Allah, we will send emergency aid consisting of food, dietary supplements, medicine, blankets and clea water supply,” concluded Rahadiansyah.
To this day, almost a million of Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar cram inside inadequate makeshift tents made of thin tarpaulin. UNHCR reported that the total amount of Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar has reached 887,661 lives, around 204,345 families.
Of that number, 721,641 lives are the Rohingya refugees that arrived during the mass exodus in August 2017.