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Rohingya camps destroyed by floods


On the first day, the water rose to her daughter’s shoulders. Around 6 a.m., Taher (1) remembers being woken up by waves of mud on July 27. In the photos transmitted, the children are playing in the water at the start. Then the water did not come down, taking away a large majority of the camp shelters.

The first cases of illness, especially diarrhea, quickly appeared. “The rains have started again several days in a row, tells this Rohingya refugee, there wasn’t really a safe place at Zero-Point to take shelter. The whole camp was hit. My daughter’s school, the toilets, everything was taken away. “

In living memory, the monsoon season has never been harsher with the some 5,000 refugees in this Rohingya camp, the closest to the border with Burma that Taher fled four years ago, with his family, to escape the ethnic cleansing perpetrated by the Burmese army.

In Cox’s Bazar, the main settlement point for refugees in Bangladesh, floods have destroyed at least 6,000 shelters, according to figures provided by a United Nations official contacted from the camp. Fifteen refugees were found dead. This assessment remains provisional, the risk of new precipitation and landslides being still very present.

Up to 1er In August, it rained every day the equivalent of half of the average precipitation recorded in a month of July. If these torrential rains have lost effect, the monsoon must last until October, complicating the rehabilitation of shelters. “The roads are blocked, the infirmaries and distribution points are damaged”, explains this humanitarian.

Almost 21,000 displaced people have been able to find shelter thanks to the help of volunteer refugees in recent days. But the needs are enormous for the 800,000 refugees counted by the UN on this side of the border. Some observers speak of a million Rohingya. In 2021, the joint response plan adopted at the United Nations had received only 30% of the 943 million US dollars pledged to manage the Rohingya humanitarian crisis, notes the United Nations High Commissioner in a report.

The Bangladeshi authorities refuse any hard construction in these overcrowded camps: a signal sent to the refugees, tolerated as long as their presence lasts only a time. The makeshift shelters approved by Bangladesh, made of tent fabrics, tarpaulins and bamboo stems, do not withstand the annual bad weather: the monsoon, but also the fires of the dry seasons.

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