It is no secret to the international community that Rohingya Muslims in Bangladesh are facing a humanitarian crisis, as well as an active attempt of ethnic cleansing. Along with these pressing issues, flooding in Bangladesh in the last week has added to the displacement of thousands of these individuals. According to the United Nations and other officials, “[H]eavy monsoon rains” caused “landslides and flash floods in refugee camps.” This displaced thousands of Rohingya Muslims in Bangladesh’s southeastern region. Aljazeera reported at least six Rohingya, three children, perished due to landslides and flooding. More than 200,000 are stranded due to the flooding in Cox’s Bazar. The flooding and landslides have caused severe damage to the crowded and poorly funded camps, leaving thousands stranded.
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), stated that 21,000 refugees have been affected by the flooding and landslides in Bangladesh. An estimated 4,000 shelters were damaged and Aljazeera reported that over “13,000 were forced to relocate in the camps, while thousands of facilities” including health clinics and toilets were damaged.” Along with damage to these facilities, there was destruction of roads, bridges and other means of transportation for these individuals.
According to Aljazeera, a Rohingya by the name of Rokeya Begum spoke about the current crisis, “I have never seen such flooding… in four years. When the water came, there was nobody from my family at home to help.” She further described the flooding and current state of Bangladesh as a nightmare. This is not just the case for Begum. Numerous refugees, many being large families with young children, have been forced to flee their homes because of severe flooding and mud. Many are actively seeking safety in other homes and camps nearby.
Since August of 2017, the Rohingya people forcibly fled a humanitarian crisis, military violence and what many UN officials are calling an active genocide. The international community has since questioned if this group, which has been displaced since 2017, will ever be able to return home. Many wonder if they will ever see life outside of a refugee camp. Cox’s Bazar is home to one of the Rohingya’s largest camps and it has taken a large hit due to the landslides. Without help from the international community and neighboring countries, the damage to this camp could continue displacing the thousands of displaced individuals that already live there.
The Rohingya people are no stranger to displacement, as they have been forced to leave their homes due to several challenges from Bangladesh’s government. With that being said, the current state of the country is no help to the horrible conditions that many inhabit. This environmental crisis has added to the list of concerns that these refugees must overcome. It is up to the international community, human rights groups, the UN and UNHCR to provide support and put pressure on Bangladesh’s government to ensure the safety of the Rohingya people.
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