In Bangladesh‘s Cox’s Bazar area, close to a million Rohingya refugees have been living in camps for several months. Their living conditions are inhumane and have only worsened since the arrival of the rainy season.
Shelters washed away by the weather
In Cox’s Bazar district, monsoon rains have started since early June. “25,000 people have already suffered from the consequences of the rains, which have also destroyed the shelters of more than 3,000 families,” warns Brian Hansen, Country Director of SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL in Bangladesh.
“The shelters, made of bamboos and tarpaulins, cannot withstand such bad weather, yet it is complicated for humanitarian organizations to build stronger infrastructure in the camps,” adds Brian Hansen. Another 215,000 people in flood-prone areas risk losing what little they have, as well as their shelter, washed away by torrential rains and strong winds.
“The narrow paths between the shelters become impassable and dangerous, preventing water from flowing out and flooding the shelters. The situation is likely to worsen over at least the next two months, as the monsoon intensifies,” says Hansen.
Relief is organised against the clock
SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL teams are now working to reduce the risks for these populations. The most fragile houses are reinforced, drainage channels are built between the shelters to prevent flooding, and allow better drainage of rainwater.
Following the announcement of the first major damages, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL teams also provided initial psychological support to those affected by the destruction and seek to prevent violence against deprived women and children.
Increased health risks
SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL teams, who have been helping the Rohingya populations since their arrival in late 2017, now fear for the lives and health of the refugees. Beyond homes, water points risk being destroyed and water contaminated, depriving thousands of people of drinking water. Latrines can also be destroyed, overflow, and sanitary conditions deplorable.
“The consequences are dramatic for the populations’ health. Diarrhoeal diseases are spreading. In the camps, the high population density and lack of access to health facilities increase the risk of being quickly confronted with large-scale epidemics,” also warns Brian Hansen.
In case of suspected cases of diseases, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL teams can quickly disinfect water points, latrines and shelters nearby. Hygiene promotion sessions are regularly organized, reminding inhabitants of the risks and good practices in case of water-related diseases.
In the coming months, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL will distribute essential household items, hygiene kits and drinking water in sufficient quantities to cover the needs of the affected families. Emergency latrines will be built and infrastructure repaired.
HELP THE ROHINGYA REFUGEES OVERCOME THE MONSOON
© SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL