Monsoon Landslides Wreak Havoc for Cox's Bazar Refugees

The catastrophe World Vision and other aid agencies have long warned about is unfolding in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, as heavy rains lash the world’s largest, most densely populated refugee camp.

Torrential downpours in the past two days have triggered flooding and landslides, damaging hundreds of refugee shelters and killing at least one person, according to government reports. More than 200,000 refugees in the camps face direct danger of their homes collapsing.

“In the camps yesterday, I saw children standing next to houses that are teetering on the edge of cliffs and sewage-filled flood waters washing out bridges,” World Vision Emergency Response Director in Cox’s Bazar Jimmy Tuhaise says.

Mr Tuhaise says children—who make up nearly half of the refugee population—are particularly at risk.

“We are really concerned about children. Like all children, they love water, but they’re playing in stagnant, contaminated ponds and puddles. They are very vulnerable to diseases like acute watery diarrhea that is already rampant in the camps. They also risk being injured or separated from their families during a deluge.”

The storms are predicted to continue for the next few days.

“Unfortunately, the time for major risk mitigation is over and aid agencies are now moving into emergency preparedness,” Mr Tuhaise says.

“For instance, in partnership with other humanitarian organizations, we are providing ID bracelets for children so they can be quickly reunited with their families if they get lost or separated during the storms.”

For months, World Vision has raced against the clock to help mitigate disaster. To enable families to reinforce their makeshift, dilapidated shelters, World Vision recently distributed upgrade kits (60 bamboo poles, tarps, rope and tools) to 49,200 refugees.

Refugees were also hired through cash-for-work programmes to build bridges, bolster sandbag staircases on the steep hillsides and brick-pave access roads into the camps.

However, rain and mud are making roads slippery and impassable for aid delivery trucks.

More than 700,000 refugees, most of whom identify as Rohingya, have fled Myanmar to neighbouring Bangladesh since August last year when violence erupted.

People can donate to World Vision Australia’s emergency appeal for refugees in Cox’s Bazar:

For more information or to arrange an interview with World Vision’s Refugee Crisis Response Director, Jimmy Tuhaise,  please contact Emergencies Communications Officer, Brianna Piazza  0408 624 934,

Picture: Monsoon rains have triggered flooding and landslides, damaging hundreds of refugee shelters in Cox's Bazar. 

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