Cox's Bazar: 200,000 Rohingya at risk of landslides during monsoons

25 thousand displaced people live on the slopes of the district; another 175,000 are in danger in the towns of Ukhiya and Teknaf. One third of the camps could be flooded by rains, which occur from June to October. There is a risk of the proliferation of epidemics such as cholera, if the aquifers are contaminated.

Dhaka (AsiaNews / Agencies) - About 200,000 Rohingya refugees camped in the Cox's Bazar district, in the southern part of Bangladesh, rare at risk  of landslides during the monsoon season. This is the alarm launched today by the Refugee government agency, Relief and Repatriation Commission (RRRC). Experts warn that refugees are facing serious dangers resulting from the heavy rainfall that occurs in the country from June to October and invite the authorities to relocate them as soon as possible.

According to a study conducted by the agency, an estimated 25 thousand people settled in makeshift camps on the slopes of the hills that surround the tongue of land at the border with Myanmar; another 175,000 are at risk in the camps located in the towns of Ukhiya and Teknaf. Analysts note that landslides, floods and heavy rainfall "could have a wide range of negative implications, including victims and the disruption of the distribution of support, which most refugees depend on".

Recently, some experts from local and international organizations, such as Dhaka University, the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), have visited the areas that host Muslim refugees who escaped from the Burmese territory.

The agencies estimate that about a third of the camps could be hit hard by the rainy season. In particular, in the event that toilets sewers and drainage channels are submerged, serious cases of contamination of water and groundwater could occur. This would lead to the proliferation of epidemics like cholera, which would put people's lives even more at risk.

According to Rohingya center for Disaster Management and Relief Ministry, nearly 700,000 displaced people have fled Myanmar since August 25, 2017, when the violence between the Muslim militants of the Iraq Rohingya Salvation Army (Arsa) and the army soldiers took over.

Meanwhile, the authorities say they have assigned red flags to the entire area at risk and that the Fire Brigade and Civil Defense, along with officials of the Disaster Management and Relief Ministry, are deployed throughout the camps to keep people updated on the danger of the monsoons. The representatives of the Dhaka government have announced that the existing camps can host up to 45 thousand Rohingya in the safe areas; that's why they started the transfer operations of the remaining refugees in the Bhashan Char area, where the Bangladeshi Navy has already started building hurricane-proof houses and shelters.