Monday, 17 June 2019

By Tin Soe

Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh: Heavy winds and rain destroyed Rohingya refugee camps which are situated along the Burma-Bangladesh border on May 20, according to a committee member from Kutupalong makeshift camp.

Overview of Kutupalong makeshift camp 

“The winds started in the evening with black clouds and heavy rainfall down at night. We were not able to stay in our shacks as the winds blew the roofs off and rain fall inside the shacks.”

“The whole night we were sitting on one side of the shacks with plastic coverings, and our children became sick.”

“Our shacks are built with branches and bushes, plastic and bamboo. They can’t resist the heavy wind. It blew the roofs off and rain fell into the shacks.”

“Some shacks are made of mud walls, and after the roofs blew off, the mud walls fall down, which hurts the refugee.”

“I got a minor injury on my waist when a mud wall fell down on my body during the heavy rain and winds,” said Lal Buri, a fifty-year-old female refugee from the Kutupalong makeshift camp.

“My old mother and I are living in a small shack which was made with bushes and branches, and the winds and rain destroyed our shack. Now I am unable to rebuild the shack as I have no money, and other refugees are also engaged with their shacks. They are not able to help me.”

“The rainy season is coming and I don’t know how I will stay without rebuilding the shack. It makes me cry.”

A community committee member said, “Many huts were already destroyed by the heavy rain and wind from May 20–22, 2011.”

“The refugees who are widows, they have more difficulty to build their huts.”

“We have been living in the Kutupalong makeshift over three years, but we still don’t get any support from UNHCR.”

In the camp, thirty young refugees are giving basic education to youngsters as home study, but the heavy rain and winds forced them to close their home schools as the rain caused mud to flow inside the home schools.

Youngsters are learning their lesson in the classroom

“We are trying to rebuild the home schools’ roofs and continue to give the lessons. We don’t want the young children going around the camp. We want them to be educated children, and hope they will be able to give the education to other children,” Hashim, a schoolteacher said.

“In our camp, there are more than forty thousand refugees, and more than 10,000 children need education, but we are only giving education to 1,000 children.”

Similarly, a refugee community leader from Leda camp said that the camp situation of Leda is awful because many shacks were severely damaged during the heavy rain and winds.

The shacks are going to fall down like this in the lada camp

“The shacks are no longer strong or sturdy as they are all now at least three years old. They are built only with bamboo and plastic sheets. Now some shacks have fallen completely and the refugees fear for their lives while they are sleeping during the night.”

“We fear for young children who mostly stay in the shacks if heavy wind blows in the daytime or night. The rainy season is coming soon, but we have no facilities to roof properly for rain. Every shack is getting rain water inside when the rain falls.”

There are more than 12,000 refugees in the camp. The Leda Refugee Camp is managed by Muslim Aid UK, including healthcare programs, and Solidarity is working for the sanitation program in the camp.

Nearby, the winds had blown the roofs off huts inside the registered refugee camp in Kutupalong, which is under the control of UNHCR.