Cox’Bazar. Several days of heavy monsoon rainfall in Bangladesh have caused serious flooding and landslides in refugee settlements in Cox's Bazar, affecting more than 10,000 people. About 1,600 people were left homeless after the incident. Many refugees in the camp live in hand-built shelters of bamboo and tarpaulin sheets that stand no chance against strong winds and mudslides.
"We knew that the monsoon season would bring serious threat to the refugees in Cox's Bazar. Trees were cut down to construct shelters for them," says Cordula Wasser, Head of Malteser International’s Asia program. "That is why we worked out emergency plans in advance. We moved our health stations to a higher ground within the camp and improved fortification. We also stocked up on medicine in the event that access to the camps was blocked due to the floods." Until now, only one of Malteser International’s health stations has had to be closed temporarily for one day.
Malteser International prepared for flooding incidents
With heavy rains expected to continue in the coming weeks, the plight of refugees is set to become even worse. Besides damaging shelters, flooding increases the risk of water-borne diseases such as diarrhoea and cholera. Malteser International teams on the ground providing healthcare services and are prepared to respond to potential health emergencies.
Since late August 2017, a wave of violence against the Rohingya, a predominantly Muslim ethnic group from Myanmar, has forced over 680,000 people to flee their homes in Myanmar. Majority have sought refuge in Bangladesh's Cox's Bazar area and have joined many other Rohingya refugees who have fled in previous years. The refugee settlement in Cox's Bazar is now home to over one million refugees, making it the world's largest refugee camp.
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