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Bangladesh Floods Leave Thousands of Rohingya Refugees Homeless Again

Heavy monsoon rains have washed away sprawling Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh, turning settlements into fast-flowing rivers in a single day. No less than 11 individuals have died, officers stated, and 1000’s are homeless as soon as once more.

Mamunur Rashid, an area official in Cox’s Bazar, the place a whole lot of 1000’s of Rohingya refugees have lived for years after fleeing neighboring Myanmar, stated that at the least six individuals had died on Tuesday within the Balukhali and Palong Khali camps, together with one youngster. 5 others died in a camp at Teknaf on Wednesday morning, he stated.

Based on the Inter Sector Coordination Group, a world reduction group that oversees the camps, as many as 13,000 individuals have been affected by the extreme floods and landslides, which have killed scores in India in current days. Locals stated that dozens of individuals had been reported lacking.

Since 2017, greater than 730,000 members of the Rohingya ethnic group have crossed into Bangladesh, fleeing a vicious army marketing campaign of killing, rape and arson in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, the place the federal government doesn’t contemplate them rightful residents. The United Nations has referred to as Myanmar’s persecution of the Rohingya, who’re predominantly Muslim, “a textbook instance of ethnic cleaning.”

Refugees within the camps in Bangladesh have suffered farther from illness, heavy rains and fires, together with one in March that killed at the least 15 individuals and left tens of 1000’s homeless.

Witnesses stated that most of the refugees affected by the current flooding and landslides had been nonetheless residing in squalid circumstances after dropping properties in that blaze.

“We’re having a nightmarish life,” even after escaping to Bangladesh, stated Mohammad Jubair, a Rohingya volunteer who stated he noticed a landslide destroy a whole hillside of shelters within the Balukhali refugee camp on Tuesday. No less than three individuals, together with a mom and her two youngsters, had been killed, he stated.

Mr. Jubair, 22, added {that a} pal was additionally injured by a tin sheet that lower by way of his leg as he was making an attempt to flee the landslide.

The rains had been pouring since final week, reduction employees stated. Issues shortly grew worse on Tuesday because the floodwaters washed away many of the shanties.

Certainly one of them belonged to Hadir Hussain and 6 members of his household within the Kutupalong refugee camp. Their shack, constituted of bamboo sticks and a plastic sheet, was fully destroyed by the floods, he stated.

Mr. Hussain, 18, stated he didn’t know if it might ever be repaired.

“It’s a devastating scenario right here,” he stated.

Many individuals affected by the floods urgently want meals as a result of they’re unable to cook dinner, stated Hasina Akhter, the Cox’s Bazar space director for BRAC, a humanitarian company primarily based in Bangladesh. “Ladies and youngsters are struggling lots,” she stated. “Additionally they want medical assist, as they might have already got a chilly or a fever.”

On Wednesday, the United Nations refugee company stated on Twitter that it was “deeply saddened” by the deaths of the refugees, which it stated had been brought on by “extreme climate occasions.”

“Persistent rain and robust winds proceed,” it stated. “Our emergency response groups are within the camps, working in coordination” with the federal government and reduction organizations.

Bangladesh, a low-lying nation of about 165 million individuals the place monsoon rains arrive with a fury every year, is especially susceptible to local weather change, scientists say. Torrential rains submerged at the least 1 / 4 of the nation final 12 months, leaving tens of millions of individuals with nothing. Previously, rising sea ranges mixed with highly effective cyclones have swallowed total villages.

The floods have additionally struck the nation as it’s battling one among its worst coronavirus outbreaks. The well being ministry reported practically 15,000 new infections on Tuesday and a report 258 deaths.

Bangladeshi officers have stated that vaccinations will quickly begin for Rohingya refugees who’re 55 and older.

Karan Deep Singh reported from New Delhi, and Saif Hasnat from Dhaka, Bangladesh. Hannah Beech contributed reporting.

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