Go to main content

Bangladesh: Rohingya refugees brace for rain and cyclones

Emergency
Bangladesh

The largest refugee camp in the world is built on tree-stripped hills in a flood-prone area of southern Bangladesh. With annual rains expected to arrive in April and the threat of cyclones looming, Humanity & Inclusion staff in the camps are extremely concerned about the impact of flooding and landslides on the most vulnerable people.

Shelters in an extension camp in Bangladesh, October 2017

Shelters in an extension camp in Bangladesh, October 2017 | © E.Pajot/HI

In August 2017, Rohingya refugees fled en masse from neighbouring Myanmar and set up rudimentary shelters across a 3,000 acre area in the Cox’s Bazar region of Bangladesh. Kutupalong-Balukhali camp now hosts over 600,000 people and is the largest and most densely populated refugee settlement in the world.

“The threat posed by the upcoming rainy season is likely to worsen from April to August” explains Sophie Dechaux, HI Country Director in Bangladesh. “Almost all trees and shrubs have been cleared to make space for shelters and many have been built on steep hillsides. When the rains arrive, the ground will be unable to absorb the water so we are expecting significant flooding and multiple landslides”

The knock-on effects will put even greater strain on already stretched humanitarian services.

“Families will be forced to move into safer areas; they will need new shelters. Overcrowding and standing flood water will create ideal conditions for waterborne diseases.” 

HI has been supporting the most vulnerable people in the camps since the beginning of the emergency in August 2017. The challenges of the coming months will disproportionately affect the people we support. People with physical disabilities will not be able to move around the camp to access services due to floods and many may not be able to move quickly in the case of a landslide.

HI is working with local authorities and coordinating with other humanitarian organisations to prepare for the worst. Our priority is to ensure that vulnerable people are taken into account and will still have access to the support they need.

Where we work

Read more

Cash transfers by HI: a vital addition to humanitarian aid
© Coalición LACRMD
Emergency Health

Cash transfers by HI: a vital addition to humanitarian aid

Humanity & Inclusion (HI) provides cash transfers as part of its humanitarian assistance. This form of aid is vital for vulnerable populations living in countries suffering the disastrous social impact of Covid-19.

Milagros' Story: “I couldn't even manage to feed my children anymore”
© HI
Emergency Health

Milagros' Story: “I couldn't even manage to feed my children anymore”

Milagros Chacin and her family escaped the economic crisis in Venezuela by fleeing to Colombia. HI has given them financial assistance to buy food and pay the rent.

What happens after the dust has settled? HI’s approach to emergencies and long term support
© Tom Nicholson/HI
Emergency

What happens after the dust has settled? HI’s approach to emergencies and long term support

Federico Dessi, Humanity & Inclusion's Regional Director for the Middle East, answers questions about the different challenges that are faced when moving from emergency to long-term support. Thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery, HI has been supporting Syrian refugees in the region as the crisis heads towards a decade of displacement and destruction.

FOLLOW US