Exceptionally heavy monsoon rains in Bangladesh have led to flooding and landslides in Cox’s Bazaar, home to almost a million Rohingya refugees.
Eight people were killed – five from one family – while thousands more have had their homes washed away or flooded, while communal latrines are unusable and clean water unavailable. Home gardens which allow households to grow their own food have also been destroyed.
Concern Worldwide, the Irish humanitarian organisation, is planning to provide emergency dry food items such as rice cakes, sugar, biscuits, bread, honey comb and bottled water, along with hygiene and health kits, and non-food items, as requested by local authorities in response to the floods.
“We are currently assessing the needs of those affected and will respond but additional funds are needed to effectively support people,” said Fiona McLysaght, Concern’s Country Director in Bangladesh. “The rains are ongoing and prolonged, and the level of damage is expected to increase over the coming days. The people affected by fires in March are now severely impacted by flooding.”
A large fire in the crowded Cox’s Bazaar refugee camp earlier this year forced 50,000 people to flee their homes, and these floods come at a time when they were beginning to get back on their feet and rebuild their homes and lives. The impact of climate change is today’s reality and is very visible in Bangladesh.
The floods also heighten the risk of water-borne diseases, which along with COVID-19, is yet another threat to the health of the Rohingya refugees living in the camps. Bangladesh registered the highest number of new coronavirus cases and deaths within a single day on Monday. A two-week lockdown was imposed by the government last Friday, with people urged to stay indoors at all times.
“COVID-19 cases are increasing at alarming rate across the Bangladesh with 15,000 confirmed cases and 247 deaths recorded on Monday, while only 3% of the population is fully vaccinated,” said Ms McLysaght.
“The most severe rains to hit Cox’s Bazar in years have resulted is disastrous flooding that has overwhelmed the Rohingya refugees and some of the poorest communities in Bangladesh. Despite the constraints Concern is continuing with its life saving nutrition programme for malnourished children and pregnant women in the refugee camps.”
Concern has been working in Bangladesh since 1972.
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