IOM Staff Tackle Floods and Landslides to Support Rohingya Refugees During Monsoon
Cox's Bazar – UN Migration Agency (IOM) staff have been working round the clock this week, as monsoon downpours caused flooding and landslides in Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh, where almost one million people are living in bamboo and tarpaulin shelters after fleeing violence in Myanmar.
IOM health teams waded through waist-high water in some areas in a bid to reach their patients and were able to keep all but one medical facility operating despite extremely difficult ground conditions.
To ensure medical needs were met in the area where the clinic was not accessible to staff, an IOM mobile medical team worked out of a local school. In total over 1,500 medical consultations were carried out by IOM health workers on 25 July – one of the heaviest days of rain.
To ensure access to vital aid and services could continue, three teams from the Site Maintenance Engineering Project (SMEP) – a joint project between IOM, WFP and UNHCR – worked through the night of 25/26 July to prevent road collapses on a key route through the megacamp.
IOM site management staff assessed over 1,800 people affected by weather-related incidents, and supported distribution of emergency supplies including shelter, food and bedding materials.
“With heavy rains expected to continue over the coming weeks, IOM and partners will continue to do everything we can to keep people safe and support them during these very challenging conditions, but we desperately need more funding to enable us to keep up this life-saving work,” said Manuel Marques Pereira, IOM’s emergency coordinator in Cox’s Bazar.
At present, just one quarter of the funding for the joint response to the Rohingya crisis has been secured and the continuation of critical services is now under threat.
IOM shelter staff this week also provided full shelter upgrade kits or materials such as tarpaulins and ropes to families whose shelters were destroyed and damaged by the rains.
A small number of families were relocated from one of the worst affected flood areas to a newly prepared area of the camp.
IOM protection staff supported the assessment of those whose shelters were affected by the weather and helped identify extremely vulnerable individuals to ensure they received additional support, including for those who needed emergency relocation.
IOM, through the Inter Sectoral Coordination Group, has offered to support the Government of Bangladesh in its work with the host community in Cox’s Bazar. Assessments are being carried out and IOM stands ready to support all those affected.
For more information please contact Fiona MacGregor at IOM Cox's Bazar, Tel. +8801733335221, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org