Over 1,000 New Shelters Built for Rohingya Refugees Threatened by Landslides

Posted: 
07/24/18
Themes: 
Humanitarian Emergencies, Refugee and Asylum Issues, Rohingya Crisis

Cox’s Bazar – Shelter teams from IOM, the UN Migration Agency, working with over 19,000 Rohingya refugee and local labourers, this week completed the construction of over 1,000 new shelters as part of a rapid response project to help move refugee families most at risk from landslides during the monsoon.

In just over a month, 1,150 of the “Robust Emergency Shelters” have been built with the support of refugee and host communities, who have helped with the construction and transported materials to the new site known as Camp 20 Extension.

Almost a million Rohingya refugees who fled violence in Myanmar are currently living in tarpaulin and bamboo shelters on hilly land in the Cox’s Bazar region of southern Bangladesh – an area prone to some of the world’s worst monsoon conditions.

IOM and partner organisations are working to move thousands of families whose shelters are most at risk from soil erosion and landslides during the monsoon. Hillsides stripped of vegetation during the initial influx of refugees in late August 2017 have become increasingly unstable.

The new shelters, which have been directly constructed by the IOM shelter programme, use techniques designed to make them more durable during the heavy rains. They are built on land prepared and made safe under the Site Maintenance Engineering Project – a joint initiative between IOM, WFP and UNHCR.

“This is an important achievement and a testament to the incredibly hard work of IOM’s shelter teams, the joint efforts of the SMEP initiative, and of course the refugees and host community themselves,” said Manuel Pereira, IOM’s Emergency Coordinator in Cox’s Bazar.

“Everyone involved has put an immense effort into making this land safer and creating robust shelters where families facing the very real danger of landslides can now live more securely. But we desperately need more funding for this work to continue,” he said.

Ambi Khatu, a 60-year-old woman originally from Buthidaung in Myanmar’s North Rakhine State, is among those who have moved into the new shelters.

“My (previous) shelter was damaged in a landslide. The mud overflowed into my house. I feel here is a good place. I feel better,” she said, showing off the small plot of pumpkin seedlings she recently planted outside her new shelter.

IOM has played a lead role in meeting the shelter needs of those affected by the Rohingya refugee crisis. Since February this year, almost 43,200 households have received shelter upgrade kits, while 41,500 households have been given shelter upgrades and disaster risk reduction orientation. Since May, over 37,300 households have also received tie-down kits to further secure their shelters.

For more information please contact Fiona MacGregor at IOM Cox’s Bazar, Email: fmacgregor@iom.int, Tel: +88 0 1733 335221

  • Rohingya refugees walk past new emergency shelters built by IOM shelter teams in the Camp 20 Extension, Cox’s Bazar. Photo: IOM July 2018.