Death toll of Rohingya from monsoon rains rises to 3
At least three Rohingya Muslims were killed and hundreds others injured in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar after heavy monsoon rains hit the refugee camps causing deadly mudslides, local sources said.
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On Monday, a 3-year-old Rohingya refugee boy, identified as Md. Sultan, died and his mother got injured after the collapse of the mud walls of their house at Kutupalong makeshift camp in Cox's Bazar.
Two more Rohingya refugees, including 20-year-old Mohammad Ali and a Rohingya refugee woman, were killed on Tuesday morning when a shack collapse as a result of landslide.
Additionally, five Rohingya refugees at Palangkhali camp near Shafiullah Kata area have been wounded on Wednesday due to the landslides, said Majhee, a Rohingya refugee at the camp.
The injured include Morium Khatun, 45, Rokeya Khatun, 25, and Rokeya’s 3-year-kid Umme Habiba.
The injured were transferred to hospitals.
Local sources confirmed that members of the military, fire services, civil defense personnel and workers of humanitarian agencies are carrying out relief activities.
Md. Abul Khaer, officer in-charge of Ukhia police station, said the heavy rains over the past few days have seriously damaged the refugee camps.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, District Commissioner (DC) of Cox’s Bazar Md. Kamal Hossain said: “We have recommended the authorities to remove the water immediately and relocate the most vulnerable refugees”, he said, adding that the shifting process is underway.
Over the weekend, the Bangladeshi region received more than a third of the rainfall it typically receives during the entire monsoon period, damaging thousands of tents and leaving several refugees homeless.
- Makeshift settlements are in 'danger'
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Ansar Ali, a Rohingya refugee, said he lives in the Kutupalong camp. Out of 120 settlements of the third block of this camp, 100 makeshift settlements are at high risk, Ali added.
Dil Mohammad, another Rohingya refugee living at Tamru border area camp, said that almost all makeshift settlements are in "danger".
“If some strong bamboos and strong polythene are not supplied to us immediately, it will be tougher for us to protect our weak settlements,” Ansar, another Rohingya refugee, said and added that women and children are in more vulnerable state with scarcity of foods, drinking water and diseases due to hygienic sanitation and mosquitoes.
Sayed Alam, a local journalist at Cox’s Bazar, reported that around 1,000 Rohingya refugees have been injured after their shacks collapsed due to the monsoon in the last couple of days.
Local administration sources said that there have been 37 landslides so far and agencies are scrambling to move those families in vulnerable areas before there are more casualties.
In the Kutapalong settlement, 22 families comprising of 81 people have been relocated in the past few days.
Bangladesh’s refugee relief and rehabilitation commissioner, Mohammad Abul Kalam, said that 30,000 of the 55,000 vulnerable refugees had been relocated and that monsoon preparations in the past weeks had already prevented a much bigger death toll.
Meanwhile, the UN estimates based upon aerial mapping that 200,000 people are still at risk of landslides and floods and require relocation to safer areas.
Bangladesh’s government is working with aid agencies to relocate an initial group of 100,000 Rohingya from the camps.
Caroline Gluck, a UNHCR spokeswoman in Cox’s Bazar, said that almost nonstop rain for the past few days had been challenging for the refugees and humanitarian agencies. - Challenges
“Before the rains, we have all been working flat out to make the settlements as safe as possible – stabilizing slopes, reinforcing pathways, building bridges, and providing stronger, waterproof shelters for refugees,” she said.
However, she said more flat land was “urgently needed” to relocate families who were in danger from the impact of the rains.
“Our work has helped to prevent many accidents in the settlements, but we really don’t know what will happen in the future if there is massive and sustained rainfall,” she said.
Since Aug. 25, 2017, more than 750,000 refugees, mostly children and women, have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community, according to Amnesty International.
At least 9,400 Rohingya were killed in Rakhine from Aug. 25 to Sept. 24 last year, according to Doctors Without Borders.
In a report published recently, the humanitarian group said the deaths of 71.7 percent or 6,700 Rohingya were caused by violence. They include 730 children below the age of 5.
The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.
The UN documented mass gang rapes, killings -- including of infants and young children -- brutal beatings, and disappearances committed by security personnel.
In a report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.