Three days of continuous rain in Bangladesh have destroyed 273 shelters and injured 11 people in the Cox’s Bazar settlements where more than 900,000 Rohingya refugees live.
An estimated 350mm of rain fell in 72 hours from Monday and more heavy downpours are expected throughout next week, with four months of the monsoon season to go. According to preliminary reports, there have been 26 landslides.
Refugee volunteers trained by UNHCR and partners worked throughout the night on Wednesday in heavy rain to help families in urgent need. In some cases, this involved rescuing refugees from shelters destroyed by landslides. UNHCR has temporarily relocated 2,137 people, either because their shelters suffered substantial damage or as a precaution.
UNHCR spokesperson Charlie Yaxley stated at the Palais des Nations in Geneva: "Our network of Emergency Response Teams has been mobilised to identify the needs of the most vulnerable and prioritise them for assistance. As an immediate response, pre-positioned emergency supplies are being distributed to help rebuild, repair and strengthen damaged shelters."
In support of the humanitarian response led by the Bangladeshi authorities, UNHCR and partners, including WFP and IOM, made preparedness for the monsoon season a priority, including building retaining structures on hillsides, installing drainage, and building roads and bridges. Reservoirs have been also constructed to hold monsoon rains and stabilise water supplies.
"We remain on high alert, ready to deploy additional Emergency Response Teams to support our network of refugee volunteers and partners as needed," added Charlie Yaxley.
To date, the 2019 Joint Response Plan (JRP) for the Rohingya humanitarian crisis in Bangladesh has received only a third (US$301 million) of the US$920 million that is needed.