| 15 April 2024, Monday |

Six killed in landslide, flooding at Rohingya camps in Bangladesh

Heavy monsoon rains produced landslides and flooding in refugee camps in southern Bangladesh on Tuesday, killing at least six Rohingya Muslims, including children, and injuring numerous more, officials said.

After days of torrential rain, five people perished in landslides and a toddler was swept away by water, according to Mohammad Shamsud Douza, a top Bangladesh government official in charge of refugees.

After fleeing a military crackdown in neighboring Myanmar in 2017, around one million Rohingya dwell in cramped camps in the border area of Cox’s Bazar, the world’s largest refugee settlement.

“I saw many terrible situations in the camps,” said Kasim, a refugee in one of the worst affected areas. “Shelters were under water, mothers were running with their children crying.”

Onno van Manen, country director of Save the Children Bangladesh, said two children were killed on Tuesday after a rain-soaked hill collapsed on top of their shelter, burying them underneath.

“On top of these deaths, the heavy rains have damaged hundreds of temporary shelters, forcing exhausted families to seek shelter in mosques and schools,” he said.

The Bangladesh weather office said it expected heavy rains to continue for the next few days.

Rohingya refugees mostly live in shacks made of bamboo and plastic sheets that cling to steep, bare hills, and flooding has further worsened their living conditions.

“Today’s severe rainfall and flooding in Cox’s Bazar shows yet again how vulnerable Rohingya refugees, and especially children, are to the impacts of climate change,” said van Manen.

“Camps like these are no place for children to live and grow up. The international community must come up with a long-term political solution.”

  • Reuters