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Monsoon rains threaten Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh

Article published on Malteser International website on 04/19/2018

With the monsoon season beginning in Bangladesh thousands of Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar are facing a major threat from floods, landslides and water-borne diseases. Every year between the months of April and September, heavy storms and monsoon rains wreak havoc on the Bay of Bengal. This will have devastating consequences for many Rohingya refugees who have fled targeted violence in their home country, Myanmar.

“The flimsy bamboo and plastic refugee shelters are expected to stand no chance against the strong winds and torrential rains that come with the monsoon season,” said Cordula Wasser, Head of Malteser International’s Asia program. “Many of these shelters are also built on unstable hilly slopes at risk of catastrophic mudslide.”

Malteser International is supporting efforts at building response capacities on the ground in preparation for the impending disaster. In a special course, organized in collaboration with the Bangladeshi disaster management authority, our health personnel on the ground are offered training in first aid and rescue operations to enable immediate and lifesaving response. Participants of the training will thereafter pass on their knowledge to other aid workers and volunteers in the camp.

Additionally, the exterior walls and the flooring of the camp health centers supported by Malteser International will undergo fortifications to keep flood waters out and reduce the risk of collapse.

“It is difficult to say exactly what the future holds for our staff and the refugees,” says Wasser. “But we are already preparing ourselves and the refugees as well as possible. Many of these people lost everything as they fled Myanmar. We will be doing our best to make sure they don’t lose their few remaining possessions to the monsoon season.”


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