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Thematic Report – April 2018 - Rohingya Crisis: Lessons learned about the impact of cyclones

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The following lessons have been drawn from the impact of cyclones in Bangladesh and specifically Cox’s Bazar district. Other literature reviewed includes lessons from cyclones in Myanmar. Documentation on the specific impact or lessons from the impact of cyclones on the Rohingya population in Cox’s Bazar is limited. The lessons learned in this document have been drawn from past cyclone experiences in Bangladesh and Myanmar more generally. These are considered relevant for the current Rohingya crisis. For more background on cyclones in Bangladesh and their impact in Cox’s Bazar district, click here.

The living conditions of the Rohingya population differs significantly from the Bangladeshi community and interventions addressing the impact of natural disasters will be different. At the time of writing it has been made clear that there are no evacuation plans for the Rohingya population. Reasons for this include movement restrictions, scarcity of land, and a lack of usable, stable structures in which to relocate people. Upon the onset of a cyclone, the government will instruct host communities to seek safety in cyclone shelters, though the number of cyclone shelters is inadequate.

The type of information dissemination that has worked in the past include the use of megaphones and radio. Women and adolescent girls face additional protection concerns if the Rohingya population decides to relocate. Many of the Rohingya population have indicated not knowing how to reinforce their shelter in preparation of a cyclone, or not having the means to do so. In previous cyclones, markets in the Cox’s Bazar area have recovered quickly. WASH, health, education, and nutrition infrastructure is likely to sustain significant damage. Access constraints have included the breaching of embankments, blocking of roads, and disruptions in mobile reception.