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

Support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery continues into 2020
© Jaweed Tanveer / HI
Emergency Rehabilitation

Support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery continues into 2020

We are delighted to announce a second year of partnership with People’s Postcode Lottery with support of the players supporting victims of the Syria conflict and men, women and children in conflict.

"I heard Moïse crying under the rubble"
© Davide Preti/HI
Emergency Rehabilitation

"I heard Moïse crying under the rubble"

Moïse was four years old when he lost his left leg in the earthquake that struck Haiti on 12th January 2010.

British physiotherapists tackle deadly measles outbreak in Samoa
© Anna Daniell UK-Med
Emergency Rehabilitation

British physiotherapists tackle deadly measles outbreak in Samoa

In December 2019, the UK Emergency Medical Team (UKEMT), including three physiotherapists, travelled to Samoa to help save lives following a deadly outbreak of measles on the Pacific island. Funded by UK Aid, the UKEMT is the front line of the UK’s response to a humanitarian crisis overseas.