July 30 (Reuters) – Heavy monsoon rains triggered landslides and flash floods in refugee camps, displacing thousands of Rohingya Muslims in southeastern Bangladesh this week, the UN said on Friday and other officials, with more heavy rains expected.
At least six Rohingya, including three children, have died in landslides and floods while 15 Bangladeshis have been killed and more than 200,000 stranded by flooding in Cox’s Bazar, said Mamunur Rashid, the district administrator.
Nearly one million Rohingya live in overcrowded camps in the border district of Cox’s Bazar, the world’s largest refugee camp, after fleeing a military crackdown in neighboring Myanmar in 2017.
The refugees mostly live in huts made of bamboo and plastic sheeting that cling to steep, bare hills. TV footage showed flooded houses and muddy water rushing down the steps and hills. The children were playing in chest-deep water.
“It’s like a nightmare,” Rohingya Rokeya Begum said. “I have never seen such flooding in the camps in four years. When the water came, there was no one from my family at home to help me. I was alone but I was able to take my things to a safer place. Now I am at another’s house. family. “
The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said more than 21,000 refugees were “affected” by the floods while nearly 4,000 shelters were damaged or destroyed.
He said more than 13,000 people have been forced to relocate to the camps, while thousands of facilities have been damaged, including clinics and toilets. Access was hampered due to damage to roads, trails and bridges.
And the floods are likely to get worse.
“Heavy rainfall is expected over the next few days, and as such, the challenges are likely to increase,” said Manuel Marques Pereira, deputy head of mission in Bangladesh for the United Nations International Organization for Migration. .
The refugees, many of whom are still recovering from the massive fires that ravaged camps in March, said landslides and flooding had left homes “totally covered in mud”.
“One way or another, my family members could evacuate,” said Abu Siddique, who lives in the Balukhali refugee camp. “The mud that came down from the hill came into my house… All our belongings inside are covered in mud. »
Reporting by Ruma Paul; Editing by Nick Macfie
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