World, Asia - Pacific

Monsoon landslide kills 6 Rohingya, 2 locals in Bangladesh

Hundreds of Rohingya Muslims in refugee camps lose shelter as hours-long downpour washes away settlements

Md. Kamruzzaman   | 27.07.2021
Monsoon landslide kills 6 Rohingya, 2 locals in Bangladesh FILE PHOTO

DHAKA, Bangladesh

At least six Rohingya Muslims were killed on Tuesday in a landslide in Bangladesh's refugee camps in the southern district of Cox's Bazar because of hours-long seasonal monsoon rain, according to officials.

Two residents also died in separate landslides as their mud-made homes collapsed.

"We have been confirmed that five Rohingya refugees, mostly children, died as a chunk of hill swept over them amid daylong heavy monsoon rain and another Rohingya baby drowned," Shamsud Douza, Additional Commissioner of Bangladesh's Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commission, told Anadolu Agency.

Several members of the persecuted community were injured while two have been admitted to camp-based medical centers.

Meanwhile, more than 100 mostly Rohingya makeshift tents made of tarpaulin sheets, bamboo sticks and wood, on a steep slope of hills, have been washed away due to the flow of water.

Photos and videos by Rohingya victims showed that the powerful rain flooded a huge part of the world's largest refugee camps and hundreds of residents were trying to move to a safer location through neck-high water.

Many Rohingya were seen crossing the risky hilly areas amid fast-flowing water holding children on their shoulders or inside silver pots that were placed on the heads.

Since a mass exodus following a brutal military crackdown in August 2017 in Rankine State in their home country of Myanmar, Rohingya people have been living in temporary settlements in a hilly site in southern Bangladesh amid risks of landslides during the annual monsoon rain.

Dozens have been killed while thousands have lost shelter several times due to the seasonal catastrophe.

The riverine delta country of Bangladesh with nearly 165 million people usually deals with the two-month-long monsoon rain while residents in hilly regions suffer from landslides.

The Rohingya are familiar with the weather patterns of Bangladesh and urged authorities to reshuffle the risky tents and build more concrete shelters instead of weak temporary shanties.

"It seems to us that we have to stay in Bangladesh some more years due to the untoward military takeover in Myanmar and so we want to survive with minimum safety," Rahmat Karim told Anadolu Agency.

"It is unexpected that we are still at high risk of being murdered before the close sights of hundreds of international aid agencies and the host country,” he added while highlighting the repeated incidents of monsoon landslides in the last two years.

Douza, however, assured that all Rohingya victims would be resettled within the possible shortest time.

"The government has already taken many initiatives to minimize casualties in landslides in the Rohingya camps and is still working on it with a priority basis," he said.

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