Cox’s Bazar/Kuala Lumpur/Geneva, 12 June 2018 – Days of drenching rain have triggered floods and landslides across camps housing hundreds of thousands of people in Cox’s Bazar.
Bangladesh’s meteorological office says that 138 millimetres (5.4 inches) of rain has fallen since Saturday (9 June). More heavy rain is forecast for the coming days.
While no casualties have been reported, Red Cross and Red Crescent workers and volunteers say access to some areas of the camps has been cut off, making it difficult to assess the needs of 693,000 people who fled Rakhine state in Myanmar since in August 2017.
“Sodden and unstable hills have collapsed over the weekend, destroying latrines. At lower levels, water from flash floods is washing over latrines, carrying sludge through the camps,” said Sanjeev Kafley, head of Cox’s Bazar Sub-Office for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
“We’re already seeing increases in acute water diarrhoea, and the risk of an outbreak of waterborne diseases is now a serious likelihood.”
In many places, sandbags and retaining walls have failed to stem torrents of mud and clay from sliding down deforested hills. With severe warning forecast to continue, more landslides are likely, threatening serious injury or loss of life.
To help families whose makeshift homes were damaged by the wind and rain, yesterday Bangladesh Red Crescent Society, IFRC and partners started distributing emergency shelter repair kits containing tools, ropes, tarpaulins and other materials.
Today Red Cross Red Crescent staff and volunteers are carrying out a rapid assessment of people’s needs. IFRC has made 100,000 Swiss francs available from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to fund emergency action.
“We knew the monsoon – which lasts until August or September – would add another layer of difficulty and danger to the lives of people here so we revised our emergency appeal on 7 June upwards from 33.5 million Swiss francs to 36.45 million Swiss francs so we could continue delivering assistance and support to 200,000 people,” said Sanjeev Kafley.