ACTNews, COX’S BAZAR – The floods that hit Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, Tuesday (7/27/2021), have not subsided. At least six Rohingya, including three children, died in landslides and flooding, while 15 Bangladeshis were killed, and more than 200,000 were stranded by flooding in Cox’s Bazar, said Mamunur Rashid, the district administrator.
Nearly one million Rohingya live in crowded camps in the border district of Cox’s Bazar, the world’s largest refugee settlement, after fleeing a military crackdown in neighboring Myanmar in 2017. The refugees mostly live in shacks made of bamboo and plastic sheets that cling to steep, bare hills.
“This is like a nightmare,” said Rohingya Rokeya Begum, according to Reuters news agency. “I have never seen such flooding in the camps in four years. When the water came, there was nobody from my family at home to help. I was alone, but I could take my belongings to a safer place. Now, I am staying with another family.”
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said more than 21,000 refugees had been “affected” by the flooding while nearly 4,000 shelters had been damaged or destroyed. More than 13,000 were forced to relocate from the camps, while thousands of facilities were damaged, including health clinics and toilets. Access has been hindered due to damage to roads, pathways, and bridges, and the flooding is likely to get worse.
Firdaus Guritno from ACT's Global Humanity Response team stated that this was not the first time that Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar have experienced flooding. The place where the refugees set up their camps is indeed an area prone to flooding and landslides. In May, there were two refugees who died because they were buried by a landslide.
“The refugee camps are located in denuded hilly areas, causing them to be prone to landslides when heavy rains arrive. Not only during the rainy season, if the dry season arrives, disasters can also occur. The camp area became very arid. Fires can occur very easily. The refugee tents are made of wood so that if one tent catches fire, it can certainly spread to other tents," explained Firdaus.