Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar Fear Landslides Amid Continuous Rainfall

Rohingya landslide risk Cox's Bazar

Continuous rainfall for over a week has heightened fears of landslides among the Rohingya refugees living in Cox’s Bazar. The local weather office has issued a landslide warning, prompting some refugees to seek shelter in safer locations. However, a significant number still reside in hazardous hilly areas, having no alternative places to go.

Cox’s Bazar’s refugee camps are home to approximately 1.2 million Rohingyas. The community remains haunted by the tragic landslide on June 19, which claimed the lives of eight Rohingyas and two Bangladeshi nationals. The incident has left many in a state of constant anxiety.

Refugee, Relief and Repatriation Commissioner Mohammad Mizanur Rahman attributed the landslide disaster to inadequate maintenance of protection measures, such as fences and sandbags. “Protection measures including fences and sandbags were not maintained for the last two years since site management agencies had to cut their allocations for maintenance purposes due to a shortage of funds,” Rahman stated. He also emphasized the challenge of finding a permanent relocation site for those at risk.

The fear among the Rohingya is palpable. “We pass the days roaming around to avoid any landslides. Panic grips us in the night when we come to our shanties, which are built on the foot of a hill. We have nowhere to go,” said Mohammad Rochit, a resident of Camp 8.

Mohammad Samsudduza, the additional refugee relief and repatriation commissioner, noted the difficulty in identifying which residents are most at risk, given the camp’s hilly terrain. He estimated that around 2,000-3,000 Rohingyas are currently living in landslide-prone areas, with many temporarily relocated to safer places.

Various organizations are actively working to mitigate the landslide risks within the camps. Md Emdad, chairman of Camp 10, confirmed that his camp is among those at risk. “We have shifted many people to safer places like community centres,” he said.

The situation underscores the urgent need for sustainable solutions to ensure the safety and well-being of the Rohingya refugees amidst these natural threats.