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Hundreds of shelters in the Cox’s Bazar Rohingya refugee camps have been damaged by torrential rains, and squally weather this week.
Authorities said that due to proper steps, the refugees are safe and relocated to temporary shelter centers in the area.
According to Cox’s Bazar Met office, around 228 mm of rain was recorded in Cox’s Bazar till 6:00 am Wednesday, the highest rainfall for a single day this monsoon.
AKM Shamsuddoha Additional Refugee, Relief and Repatriation Commissioner in Cox’s Bazar told Bangladesh Post, ”We are receiving information on damage to many shelters, and we along with international aid agencies are working to get the exact figure on the damage due to monsoon rains over the past 2 to 3 days.”
“Many refugees have been relocated to nearby schools and religious places on temporary basis, and they will be provided shelter as early as possible. Some of them were slightly injured and given necessary treatment, he added.
Around one million Rohingya refugees who fled violence in the northern Rakhine province of Myanmar after August 25 last year, are living in Cox’s Bazar camps in the hilly areas of Ukhiya and Teknaf upzilas. The area is risky as it a flood and landslide prone area. According to ISCG Inter sector Coordination Group,
an alert has been issued to all sectors, Agencies, NGOs and competent authorities to ensure adequate response mechanisms at the field level.

Relocation of refugees to safe areas continues and mitigation measures are ongoing.

Tides of over 4m were anticipated on the Cox’s Bazar coast last week, posing a high risk of flooding in the low-lying refugee camp at Shamlapur area under Teknaf upzila. Timely preparedness and mitigation measures helped to reduce the risk of the impact of rising waters.

An ISCG source said, the monsoon season has officially started in Bangladesh since May and more than 40,000 refugees have been affected by weather-related incidents. One of them died, and as many as 50 people were injured.

The ISCG source said, only 20,400, out of 2, 46, 000 refugees, living in danger of flood and landslides, have been relocated to safer areas. Another 25,000 refugees are to be relocated to safer areas within days. 220,000 refugees still remain at risks of different categories. In addition to damage of shelters, road communication inside the camp has been terribly disrupted.

Meantime, authorities and aid agencies are working to repair the roads and pathways inside the camps.

The three-ton restriction imposed on vehicles using roads within the Kutupalong camps will continue until the end of the monsoons, to prevent further damage as well as to ensure repairs and reinforcement work on infrastructure, and restore access with minimal disruption.

AKM Shamsuddoha said that just a year ago the area was a hilly stretch of land, but in a year, about 700,000 people are living in the area which has turned into the world’s largest refugee camps. It was here that many roads were damaged in the rain, but work is ongoing to put a road communication into place.

Saleh Noman