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Source: Save The Children

  • Landslides and damaged roads are restricting humanitarian access  
  • Water-borne diseases could create a health emergency 
  • Deaths illustrate the harsh and hazardous conditions for 1 million Rohingya refugees 

COX’S BAZAR, Bangladesh, 8 August 2023 A Rohingya child and her mother have died in a mudslide in a refugee camp in southern Bangladesh after days of torrential monsoon rains that have affected more than half a million refugee children as well as the host community with two Bangladeshi children also losing their lives.  

The deaths show how life for more than one million Rohingya in the world’s largest refugee camp remains precarious. Living in squalid and overcrowded conditions, they remain almost entirely dependent on humanitarian aid to survive. 

Many Rohingya refugees have been displaced by the rainfall because their flimsy shelters were either partially or completely destroyed. The camps have experienced 300 mm of rain – nearly 12 inches – in just one week with hundreds of shelters and other facilities damaged.  

We can’t live peacefully during the monsoon in our tiny shelters. As soon as the rain comes, our shed becomes dripping wet. At night we have to wake up to keep our stuff dry,” said Rakib*, a 12-year-old Rohingya boy. “My dream is to build a safe home for us one day. Maybe we will have a beautiful life there”.  

Save the Children is concerned that further bad weather could trigger a major humanitarian and health emergency  leading to further deaths, injuries, mass displacement and the potential spread of water-borne diseases.  

Wang Le, Save the Children’s Country Director in Bangladesh, said: 

“At least one Rohingya child and her mother – and two Bangladeshi children – have already died in separate mudslide incidents, which is tragic. It’s a tragic reminder of the incredibly harsh and hazardous conditions that half a million Rohingya refugees have to endure for 6 years now. It is vital that we protect vulnerable communities from the effects of extreme weather, which is getting more frequent and severe due to the climate crisis. 

“Our teams are working tirelessly in the camps and closely monitoring the situation, rushing to repair damaged structures so that we can continue to provide vital services for Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar. At least 500 of Save the Children’s facilities have been damaged including a dozen of our learning centres and child-friendly spaces. We must get them up and running as soon as possible because these are often the only places Rohingya refugee children can learn and play in a safe and supportive environment.”   

Save the Children has been working in Cox’s Bazar since 2012 and increased activities significantly following the 2017 exodus of refugees to Bangladesh with programmes in education, health and nutrition, food, water, shelter and child protection services.


*name changed to protect identity

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