Humanitarian Agencies Assist Thousands as Monsoon Rains Hit Rohingya Camps and Host Community

Cox’s Bazar – The Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG) partners – UN agencies such as IOM, UNHCR, and WFP, as well as NGOs, working in support of the Government of Bangladesh, are assisting thousands in the host community and Rohingya refugee camps who have been impacted by severe rain and winds that have continued to batter Cox’s Bazar since Saturday (07/09). While no injuries have been reported in the camps, the past 48 hours have seen 15 landslides, 25 wind/rainstorms, and five flooding incidents, causing temporary displacement of 14,801 individuals from 4,543 households, partial damage to 427 shelters and complete destruction of 66 shelters. An estimated 16,190 individuals from 4,842 households have been affected by the flooding.

In the Teknaf area, two Bangladeshi children have reportedly been killed and 10 people injured following a landslide. Cox’s Bazar district experiences some of the highest annual rainfall in Bangladesh, where landslides, floods, winds and waterlogging commonly occur.

“The rain and wind are endangering lives and causing hardship on the ground and our teams are working around the clock to provide emergency services, repairs and relocations. While we are responding to the immediate effects of the rains, we remain focused on long-term disaster management and risk mitigation," said IOM Bangladesh Deputy Chief of Mission Manuel Pereira.

On Tuesday, approximately 4,000 households were displaced due to the rainfall in Camp 26 alone in the Teknaf area, which was worst affected. Some were relocated on an emergency basis to 15 designated safe havens/communal facilities to ensure their immediate safety, while others moved with extended family. UNHCR protection staff and partners are working to ensure that all refugees are safely accounted for and are reuniting separated family members. Shelter, food and access to clean drinking water is being provided.

“We are working closely with partners and the Government authorities to assist affected families. We also acknowledge the efforts of refugees themselves as well as the host community, who are at the centre of the response,” said Marin Din Kajdomcaj UNHCR Head of Office in Cox’s Bazar. “We have trained some 3,000 refugees so they can respond to emergencies and reduce the risks faced by the community in disasters”.

In the past couple of days, humanitarian agencies have distributed shelter kits, hot meals, and high-energy biscuits to families impacted by the storms.

“WFP is well prepared for emergency situations such as this and we have assisted 12,500 people with extra food distributions including 6,000 hot meals and 6,500 boxes of high-energy biscuits. Additionally, our engineering and disaster risk reduction teams are assessing the impact of the rains and are on standby to ensure access to food and vital services are restored if needed,” said Peter Guest, WFP Emergency Coordinator in Cox’s Bazar.

“Funding is still urgently needed to sustain preparedness and response for the remainder of the monsoon season, replenish stocks, improve communications infrastructure, repair monsoon-related damage, and increase the capacity of mobile response teams. Only 38 percent of the response is funded, compromising essential services and the health and wellbeing of both the Rohingya and host community population,” said Nicole Epting, ISCG Senior Coordinator.

ISCG partners – the UN and NGOs – are continuing to monitor weather and assist affected communities as needed. With rains expected to continue, engineers are concerned about worsening damage to paths, bridges and drainage systems if conditions do not improve.

For further information please contact:

George McLeod - IOM Cox’s Bazar, 

Louise Donovan - UNHCR Cox’s Bazar,

Gemma Snowdon - WFP Cox’s Bazar ISCG,

Bahia Egeh - ISCG,