close

News WrapGet Handpicked Stories from our editors directly to your mailbox

Rohingya refugees at risk as cyclone season nears: Red Cross

File photo of Rohingya Refugees. Photograph:( Reuters )

Agencia EFE Geneva, Switzerland Feb 18, 2019, 07.48 PM (IST)

A majority of Rohingyas in the refugee camp in Cox's Bazar area in southeast Bangladesh are at risk during the cyclone season owing to the deteriorating conditions of their makeshift homes, the International Federation of Red Cross warned Monday.

A statement by the Geneva-based nonprofit warned that 82 per cent of these refugees - 574,000 out of a total of 700,000 - live in homes built with bamboo and shredded plastic that is now battered, putting them at great risk during the approaching cyclone season, that will be accompanied by heavy rainfall and extreme temperatures.

"Housing conditions in these camps are basic. However, after 18 months, they have dramatically deteriorated, leaving people worryingly exposed," head of the IFRC country office in Bangladesh, Azmat Ulla, said in the statement.

"The aid community in Cox's Bazar needs to prioritize repairing and replacing these battered shelters, so that people have some protection against the elements, and are provided with at least some basic comfort and dignity," he added.

Last week, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee said it would raise $920 million in a new plan to help the 900,000 Rohingya refugees living in Bangladesh.

Over half the money, also meant to assist 330,000 vulnerable Bangladeshi hosts, will be used to meet basic needs such as food, water, sanitation and shelter of the refugees, who escaped to Bangladesh from Myanmar's Rakhine state.

Since August 2017, Myanmar's Rakhine state has seen the exodus of more than 745,000 members of the mostly Muslim ethnic minority group, after the army launched a military offensive following attacks by Rohingya rebels on government posts in the region.

An additional 200,000 Rohingyas - one of the most persecuted communities in the world - had fled to Bangladesh before the 2017 crisis erupted.

Most of the refugees live under harsh conditions in Cox's Bazar area near the Myanmar border, making it the world's largest refugee camp.

Myanmar does not recognize the Rohingyas as citizens and considers them Bangladeshi immigrants limiting their movements within the country.

In November 2017, Bangladesh and Myanmar had signed an agreement for the repatriation of the Rohingyas, although it is yet to be implemented.
 

Story highlights

A statement by the Geneva-based nonprofit warned that 82 per cent of these refugees - 574,000 out of a total of 700,000 - live in homes built with bamboo and shredded plastic that is now battered, putting them at great risk during the approaching cyclone season.