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Bangladesh: Heavy rain and landslides kill two Rohingya children and affect over 4,000 with more rain forecast

Two Rohingya children have been killed and more than 4,000 affected by landslides and heavy rains in Cox’s Bazar refugee camps in Bangladesh, said Save the Children.
21 June 2024

In recent days 10 people – including two children - were killed in the world’s largest refugee settlement when heavy monsoon rains triggered landslides in three different locations. Seven children were also injured, including two boys who nearly drowned in a river.[1]

Nearly 8,000 people in all 33 camps have been impacted by the torrential downpour which destroyed or damaged more than 1,000 shelters, according to initial assessments.[1] Heavy rain is forecast to continue which could cause further landslides. The monsoon season in Bangladesh has only just started and will last for the next two months.
Children make up just over half of the Rohingya refugees living in the camps, the majority of whom fled violence in Myanmar nearly seven years ago. More than half a million children live in the camps which are congested and highly vulnerable to extreme weather. Most refugees live in flimsy shelters made of bamboo with just plastic sheets or tarpaulins for roofs which often leak. The shelters are tightly packed together on steep, bare hills putting them at risk of landslides.

Save the Children teams are repairing damaged water and sanitation facilities and centres used to provide essential services to Rohingya refugees. Some Save the Children learning centres are being used to house people who have lost their homes.

Heavy rain has also caused widespread flooding in northeast Bangladesh with hundreds of villages under water and at least 1.2 million people cut off after roads were submerged, according to local authorities.[2] About 4,000 people have been moved into emergency shelters as water levels continue to rise and further heavy rain is expected.

Shumon Sengupta, Country Director for Save the Children in Bangladesh, said:

“This tragedy shows yet again how vulnerable Bangladesh is to extreme weather, and nearly a million Rohingya refugees – more than half of them children – are living in some of the most climate exposed areas in the country. The hills in Cox’s Bazar are crowded with shelters made of bamboo and tarpaulin and many of them cannot survive torrential rain.

“The rains are forecast to continue this week - heightening the risk of further landslides and turning earth to mud. Life in the camps is precarious for children all year but they are particularly at risk during the monsoon season. They need homes that don’t leak or flood when it rains. Continuing heavy rain also raises the fear of an increase in waterborne diseases, such as cholera and diarrhoea.

“It is vital that we protect all communities in Bangladesh from the effects of extreme weather events, which are getting more frequent and severe due to the climate crisis."

Save the Children is one of the leading international NGOs working in the Cox’s Bazar camps in Bangladesh. It has reached about 600,000 Rohingya refugees, including more than 320,000 children, since the response began in 2017.


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