Dhaka, Bangladesh
Rundown Rohingya refugees in peril for rainstorm

Rundown Rohingya refugees in peril for rainstorm

News Desk The monsoon will put about 203,000 Rohingya people in Kutupalong "mega-camp" in danger. About 700,000 refugees have crossed into Bangladesh's Cox's Bazar District since Myanmar launched "clearing operations" after deadly attacks on its security forces by Rohingya militants in August. Most of the fleeing Rohingya crowded into the mega-camp, which grew to more than 580,000 people from about 100,000 in just four months, according to UNHCR figures. Many need to be moved from barren hillsides and flood-prone lowlands. The refugees arrived so quickly and in such great numbers, there was little time to prepare the camps and direct people to safe areas. Bangladesh has allowed aid agencies to run "cash for work" projects that employ them to prepare the camps for the rainy season. Dust rises as hundreds of workers use pickaxes to level more than a dozen hilltops, making way for heavy machinery to flatten 800 acres (324 hectares) the government has granted to expand the camp. In the winding valleys below, refugees scour the land for firewood, between hills pockmarked with spots where they have resorted to digging up roots. Agencies plan to move 24,000 of those most at risk to the new site as soon it is ready. Besides monsoon another concern is sanitation. In Unchiprang camp, labourers wearing masks and blue overalls extract sludge from latrines, filling barrels they sling from bamboo poles and carry up a steep hillside to the treatment area. About 20,000 latrines need to be "de-sludged", according to French charity Solidarit├ęs International. If the work is not completed before the rains come - especially the most intense monsoon months from June to September - sewage could be washed into inhabited areas, causing outbreaks of diseases, including cholera. Other workers reinforce slopes with bags of dirt, while the International Organization for Migration (IOM) runs workshops to provide refugees with techniques and kits to shore up shelters. The IOM is also training some in first aid, and working with the World Food Programme to stock up on emergency supplies, including food and materials to repair shelters. - Reuters

Share |