News

The World’s Biggest Refugee Camp Is Hit Hard by Monsoon Rains

This presents further complications to the Rohingya's vulnerable state.
14 July 2019, 10:42pm
rohingya camp monsoon season bangladesh
Image via Flickr.

This article originally appeared on VICE Asia

There are about one million Rohingya crowded in Bangladesh’s Cox Bazar after fleeing Myanmar’s persecution. Conditions are already crowded in the refugee camps. But as the monsoon season starts, another set of struggles are compounding the Muslim minority.

With rains hitting Southeast Bangladesh come destruction, flooding, and the threat of further relocation to avoid the impact of the downpour. The monsoon season is predicted to last until October.

According to reports, two young boys have drowned following the rain and many other children have been injured. Over 750 learning centers and 12 child protection centers for the refugees have been damaged. One playground was entirely submerged. 60,000 children in the camps are now unable to go to school.

UNICEF Bangladesh is concerned that the monsoon season is presenting further complications to the Rohingya’s vulnerable state. The organization has successfully relocated many of the refugees and have begun cleaning up flood water from the affected areas. Among the remaining concerns, however, are unsanitary conditions and possible illnesses caused by the circumstances.

Kawser, a Rohingya refugee who lived in Cox Bazar, Bangladesh with her family, told CNN that her children are suffering from fevers but they have no access to medication.

“We are living in real hardship here,” she said.

In 2017, Bangladesh’s rains killed over 170 refugees in the same camps. In 2018, UN agencies moved 30,000 Rohingya out of the area.

Hundreds of the makeshift homes within the camps, constructed with bamboo poles and tarp, have collapsed because of landslides triggered by the rain. About 4,000 families are feeling the impact of their destroyed homes.

Ban Ki-moon, the former UN Secretary General, flew to the camps on July 10, along with several other dignitaries. They did so to assess the level of damage inflicted upon the area, as well as the environmental destruction.

Bangladeshi Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque said his country was “well prepared, along with the UN system, to face any eventualities.” He also stated that Bangladesh’s Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, “always takes special care of Rohingyas.”

Find Meera on Twitter and Instagram.