On Tuesday, Cyclone Mora made landfall in Cox’s Bazar District of Bangladesh and Rakhine State of Myanmar, causing significant damage to tens of thousands of Rohingya and other communities.
“Around 20,000 houses in the Rohingya refugee camps have been damaged by the storm. In some places, almost every shanty home made of tin, bamboo and plastic has been flattened,” Abdus Salam, a Rohingya refugee told AFP news.
The Bangladesh authorities have made no attempts to evacuate or provide shelters to hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees living in the low-lying district of Cox’s Bazar.
It is reported that a number of Rohingya refugees have been injured from the falling trees and flying tin-roof and bamboo.
“The winds are strong and people there live in flimsy structures, so we’re worried. Heavily pregnant women have been evacuated but most people in areas like Balukhali and Kutupalong makeshift settlements have stayed,” said a U.N. official who declined to be named.
It raises fears and wrecks havoc in the camps, where vast majority of the refugees live without official recognition or relief.
The district hosts an estimated 300,000 Rohingya who have fled the decade-long persecution in Myanmar, taking refuge in the flimsy shanty huts in Balukhali, Leda, Kutupalong and Nayapara refugee camps. Only 32,600 of them from Kutupalong and Nayapara registered camps are recognized and registered under UNHCR. More than 75,000 Rohingya recently fled to Bangladesh after Myanmar Armed Forces launched ‘Clearance Operations’ against Rohingya civilians in the northern part of Maungdaw township on October 9, 2016.
Rakhine State, the home to Rohingya is also affected in the cyclone damaging hundreds of houses in the apartheid-like townships – Maungdaw, Buthidaung, Rathedaung and Sittwe. Although the extent of damage is still unclear due to the restricted media access in the region, it is expected to be higher where there are poor structures, recent displaced Rohingya in “Clearance Operations” and IDP camps in Sittwe and other townships.
On March 20, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, cautioned and pleaded for support, “shelter is also a big issue. Many are living in sub-standard temporary structures. We need to scale up our support, particularly as there will be additional challenges ahead with the onset of the flood and cyclone season. Most don’t have access to regular medical services and they are not getting enough food or sufficient nutrition.”
Meanwhile urgent humanitarian assistance is needed for the tens of thousands of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, and Rohingya IDP camps and ghettos across Rakhine State.
The European Rohingya Council urges governments of Bangladesh and Myanmar to allow and provide humanitarian assistance to Rohingya and other communities in the cyclone affected areas, and we also call upon the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), international and local communities to facilitate the relief for the affected people.
For more information
Dr. Hla Kyaw
Chairman, the European Rohingya Council
+31 652 358 202