Monsoons leave refugees in perilLast Update：2018/06/22
When violence erupted in Rakhine, Myanmar in late August 2017, it triggered a mass influx of refugees into Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. This rapid inflow of people, amounting to at least 700,000, soon strained the host communities, which were already among the poorest in Bangladesh. Six months later, about 1.3 million people, including refugees and members of host communities, remained in need of humanitarian assistance.
Apart from becoming displaced and lacking in essentials such as food, clean water, protection and healthcare services, they now face another life-threatening risk: monsoons. Its worst impacts are expected to be felt in July when the rainfall is highest.
Torrential downpours in June have already triggered flooding and landslides, damaging hundreds of refugee shelters. More than 200,000 refugees face direct danger of their homes collapsing. Communal services are also jeopardised as an estimated 350 learning centres threatened by landslides and floods.
Kutupalong Expansion Site in Cox’s Bazar is now the world’s largest refugee camp. Its limited space and high population density imply the most at-risk individuals need to be relocated, which would inevitably lead to further family separation or social disruption.
Refugees in Cox’s Bazar are exposed to floods, landslides and water-borne diseases, such as diarrhoea and cholera. As weather conditions worsen and damage roads, they have to risk their lives to collect supplies at distribution centres.
Flooding is common in Cox’s Bazar during the monsoon season, sometimes even forcing families to leave their shelter in the refugee camp.
World Vision's Response
Since we began our response in September 2017, we have served over 200,000 refugees through the following response:
- Provide nutritious food packages to refugees and host communities
- Provide malnutrition screening and treatment for children under the age of five
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene
- Construct latrines and install handwashing facilities and bathing spaces
- Distribute hygiene kits , jerry cans and water chlorination tablet packages
- Construct or rehabilitate wells to increase water supply
- Distribute non-food items, such as tents, kitchen kits, baby kits, tarpaulins and blankets
- Establish Child Friendly Spaces and Women, Adolescent and Young Child Spaces to provide protective spaces for the vulnerable
World Vision staff will continue to work on the ground and provide assistance to affected children, women and host communities. In the next few months, our response will be further expanded to include the following:
- Provide shelter upgrade kits to strengthen existing structures against monsoon rains
- Distribute agricultural inputs and technical training to increase agricultural production in Cox’s Bazar
- Provide livestock, poultry and animal feed to create income-generating opportunities for host communities affected by the influx of refugees
- Improve the infrastructure of refugee camps through Cash-for-Work activities to reduce the risk of monsoons and cyclones
World Vision distributes supply packages to 4,700 women and girls in various refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar. Each package contains clothing and personal hygiene items.
Preparing for the rainy season, families receive bamboo poles, rope and tarpaulins to reinforce their shelters, and training on how to repair shelter and renovate the tents.
At World Vision’s Women, Adolescent and Young Child Space, children receive nutritious snacks while mothers learn about good hygiene practices, nutrition and health.