The UN agencies have helped to repair damage, and activate disaster response plans following eight days of unrelenting rain and wind in Cox’s Bazar, southern Bangladesh.
In the midst of monsoon, a combination of landslides, floods and wind has damaged hundreds of temporary structures and thousands of refugees in Rohingya camps.
Between 4 and 12 July, 709mm of rain fall in parts of the Kutupalong refugee settlement, out of a July average of about 1040mm for Cox’s Bazar.
About 5% of the nearly one million residents in Cox’s Bazar were directly impacted.
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM), United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and World Food Programme (WFP) have dispatched staff, partners, and refugee volunteers to relocate vulnerable persons to safety, provide extra emergency food assistance and repair damaged buildings, roads and slope reinforcements.
“With only one-third of funding requirements met for this year, the response to the Rohingya crisis requires substantially more commitment both financially and politically from the international community,” said Manuel Marques Pereira, Deputy Head of Mission for Bangladesh.
The refugees themselves are playing a central role in mitigating and responding to the effects of the monsoon through awareness raising, pre-emptive hazard identification, disaster risk reduction works in the camps.
Efforts throughout 2018 and early 2019 have dramatically improved conditions in the refugee sites and aid organisations are well-equipped to respond. However, vulnerability to food insecurity has increased.
At present, 80 per cent of refugees are entirely dependent on WFP food assistance, half of whom receive food distribution.
Cox’s Bazar lies in a coastal area especially prone to extreme weather events including cyclones. In addition to providing direct support, UN Agencies have focussed on training refugees as first-responders through Disaster Management Units under the Cyclone Preparedness Programme and have extended support to Bangladeshi host communities.