06/15/2018, 16.30
BANGLADESH
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Rohingya continue to suffer as monsoon swamp refugee camps

by Sumon Corraya

Three people died in the past week. Refugees fled neighbouring Myanmar to escape persecution. More than 3,000 houses destroyed. Wells and lavatories have become unusable. Diseases and infections are spreading in the camps. The Red Crescent Society recalls Muslim employees from the Eid-ul-Fitar break.

Cox's Bazaar (AsiaNews) – Rohingya Muslims continue to suffer, cramped in refugee camps in Cox's Bazar (southern Bangladesh), made worse by the arrival of expected monsoon rains that brought death and destruction. At least three people have died in the last five days from heavy rains, flooding and landslides.

According to Bangladesh’s Disaster Management and Relief Ministry, almost 700,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar since 25 August 2017, when fighting between the Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) and the Myanmar military resumed.

In a press release the "Inter Sector Coordination", an alliance of NGOs working with refugees, provided some of the figures of the devastation wrought by the monsoon.

Heavy rain and storms have badly affected 28,373 people, 32 of whom have been injured and two killed, including a child. Some 6,023 people has been affected by landslides. Some 3,302 houses of Rohingya have been damaged, as were 22 deep wells and 298 lavatories.

Yesterday alone, 108 homes and 4 lavatories suffered damages. The worst consequences of the rains are more clearly visible in the houses built on the slopes of the hills.

"We live in fear,” said Moniruzzaman Islam, a refugee. “If the rain continues for another week, we will be hit even harder. We pray to Allah to save us ".

The World Health Organisation has warned about the possible spread of infectious diseases.

The poor sanitary conditions in which Rohingya live, together with stagnant waters, could trigger epidemics of dengue, chikungunya, typhus, hepatitis E, and malaria. To these must be added respiratory problems, infections and dysentery.

Ms Jorunia Akter contracted typhus a week ago. "I have a fever,” she said. “I cannot work and feel very weak. I lost hope of living.”

Faced with this emergency, many associations have recalled volunteers on a break for Eid-ul-Fitar celebrations, which mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

"We will not allow our staff to leave the camps. Rohingya need our assistance," said a Red Crescent Society official.

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