Misery in Rohingya camps as Titli brought heavy rainfall

Cox’s Bazar Correspondent
Published : 02:00, Oct 13, 2018 | Updated : 16:20, Oct 13, 2018

Heavy rainfall induced by cyclone Titli has left the Rohingya refugees, sheltered in camps across Cox’s Bazar, in severe suffering with more downpours in the forecast.
Rohingyas living in at least 10 Rohingya camps of Ukhiya and Teknaf are in miserable condition following the heavy rainfall triggered by Titli which made landfall in neibouring India’s eastern state of Odisha early Thursday.
Many others among the 1.1 million refugees in 30 camps are also suffering as rain came with risks.
Cox's Bazar Meteorological Department official Mohammad Shahidul Islam said, "Cyclone Titily has affected some areas of Cox's Bazar. However, the cautionary warning has been lowered from 4 to 3.”
Incessant rainfall since Thursday night to Friday morning caused water logging inside the camps making movement difficult and risky on slippery, muddy surfaces.
Abu Taher, a resident of Hashurata village in Myanmar, sheltered at Teknaf's Shalbagan Rohingya camp said that their misery increased due to rain.
Many people have already been attacked by diarrhoea due to the lack of dirking water in the camp. Other diseases have also spread including minor cold fever and cough, he said.
Rumeda Begum, who came from, Maungdaw of Rakhine state, said, “If the rains increase, the trouble increases.”
“Therefore, we can’t sleep at night rainwater falls from the roof whenever it rains. So we stay awake in the night,” said the mother of four.
Mohammad Fayzu of the Kutupalong Rohingya Shibir, said, "The biggest refugee camp is Kutupalong. Most of the houses in this camp have been made from cutting hills, which makes it vulnerable to landslides. The water enters the camps in heavy rain. The Rohingyas suffering know no bounds.”
Abdul Matlab, chairman of development committee at Teknaf Leda Rohingya camp, said, "The shanty houses of these camps are very weak. As a result rain water enters making the inhabitants’ life a lot difficult.”
Teknaf Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Mohammad Rabiul Hasan said that they are keeping themselves updated about the situations in the camps to prevent any accidents under the circumstances.
More than 700,000 stateless Rohingya Muslims fled from the west of mostly Buddhist Myanmar into Bangladesh from August last year when Rohingya insurgent attacks on the Myanmar security forces triggered a sweeping military crackdown.
Bangladesh and Myanmar reached a deal in November 2017 to begin repatriation within two months, but it has not started, with stateless Rohingya still crossing the border.
In August this year, UN investigators said Myanmar’s military carried out mass killings and gang rapes of Rohingya with “genocidal intent”, and that the commander-in-chief and five generals should be prosecuted for the gravest crimes under international law.
Myanmar has denied allegations of atrocities, saying its military carried out justifiable actions against militants.
It has built transit centers for refugees to return, but U.N. aid agencies say it is not yet safe for them to do so.
With a delay in the repatriation plan, Bangladesh has prepared new homes on a remote island called Bhasan Char, which rights groups have said could be subject to flooding.
On Oct 10, Disaster Management and Relief Minister Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury said Bhashan Char is ready for relocating the first of batch of Rohingyas living in timid and squalid camps in Cox’s Bazar.
Chowdhury, however, could not provide a specific date for the relocation of the first batch of Rohingyas. “It’s yet to be decided. But everything is ready, whenever the prime minister instructs, it will start.”
Bhashan Char, previously known as Thengar Char, is 10,000 acres at high tide and 15,000 acres at low tide. No-one lives on the island, which is mostly used for cattle grazing.
Motorboats are the only mode of travel to the island. It takes between three to three-and-a-half hours to travel to Bhashan Char from the nearest human inhabitant Hatia, the island Upazila of Noakhali.
In November last year, the government cleared Tk 23.12 billion for the construction of homes for 100,000 Rohingyas on Bhashan Char, an island in the southeastern district of Noakhali.
The Bangladesh Navy implemented the project under the Prime Minister’s Office.