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Floods bring new misery for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh camps

Floods bring new misery for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh camps

Thousands of people have been made homeless by flooding after monsoon rains inundated refugee sites in southern Bangladesh.

Heavy monsoon rains had been falling incessantly for days when Meher Khatun, 60, noticed water starting to come into the bamboo and tarpaulin shelter she shares with her son, daughter-in-law and grandchild in a refugee camp in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar District.

Although the shelter had been built at the bottom of a hill, Meher had not seen flooding of this kind in the nearly four years she had been living there after fleeing to Bangladesh from Myanmar.

Within a few hours, the water was up to their chests, and they fled with only their stove, gas cylinder and a solar panel.

“The water was rising so fast that we couldn’t go back.”

“I felt helpless, I didn’t understand where to go,” said Meher. “The water was rising so fast that we couldn’t go back. Most of our belongings were washed away.”

More than 21,000 Rohingya refugees living in the sprawling refugee sites in Cox’s Bazar have been affected by flash floods and landslides in recent days. Over 300mm of rain fell in just 24 hours between Monday and Tuesday – nearly half the monthly rainfall average for July – and heavy rain continued on Wednesday and Thursday. Six refugees have been killed while thousands more, like Meher, have had their homes washed away or flooded.

Now, she and her son’s family are staying in a learning centre a short distance up the hill from their waterlogged shelter, along with about 20 other families displaced by the flooding. Even here, rain drips through the thatched roof and the conditions are barely liveable.

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