Our Correspondent, Dhaka, 29 July: More than 12,000 Rohingyas have been affected, while an estimated 2,500 shelters have been damaged or destroyed by heavy downpours, the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has said.
In the last 24 hours alone, over 300mm of rain fell on camps hosting more than 8 lakh Rohingyas – nearly half the monthly rainfall average for July in one day.
Three days of heavy monsoon rains and strong winds pelted massive refugee sites in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar on Tuesday, causing flash floods and landslides. The situation is further compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic, the UNHCR said.
More rains are expected in the next few days, with the monsoon season stretching over the next three months, the UN agency added.
There is currently a strict national lockdown in response to rising cases across the country.
In support of the government-led response, the UNHCR’s network of emergency response teams have been deployed, to provide immediate support and assistance to affected families and to those forced to temporarily relocate.
Teams are also assessing the damage to shelters and initiating immediate shelter repairs and site improvements.
Refugee volunteers trained by the UNHCR, and partners are also working day and night in heavy rain to help families in urgent need. In some cases, this has involved rescuing refugees from shelters destroyed by landslides.
At least 15 more people including five children of a family were killed in separate landslides and flash floods in Cox’s Bazar on Wednesday while the authorities enhanced their relief, search and rescue efforts as thousands of people were marooned due to the heavy monsoon rains.
Of the 15 deaths, the district administration officials said eight died in landslides and seven died in flash floods.
With the fresh deaths on Wednesday, the Cox’s Bazar district authorities stated that at least 24 people died in Teknaf, Ukhia and Moheshkhali since Tuesday and six of them were from the Rohingya community.
On Wednesday, five of a family — Mohammad Sukkor, 17, Kohinur Begum, 14, Mohammad Jobair, 12, Abdul Latif, 10, and Jaynab Akter, 8, were children of Syed Alam of village Pacchim Panchhari under Hinllah union in the district, died in one of the landslides during the overnight heavy downpour.
Rashed Mohammad Ali, the chairman at Hinllah union council of Teknaf, said that a large slice of mud engulfed their house at about 2:30am when they were in deep sleep.