The first heavy rains of 2018 have hit Cox’s Bazar ahead of the much dreaded monsoon season, drenching refugee camps that are now home to nearly 800,000 Rohingya.
There was some rain early on 18th April, followed by a heavy downpour in the subsequent day. The rain comes during what’s known as the pre-monsoon season—when severe storms and heavy rains are common—before Bangladesh’s devastating monsoon season starts in earnest in late May or early June.
Save the Children’s media and communications manager in Cox’s Bazar, Daphnee Cook, said: “As we feared, this first deluge is already wreaking havoc in the camps, with a number low-lying areas flooded and access made much more difficult.”
“These rains signal even harder times ahead for Rohingya families who fled brutal violence in Burma before coming to Bangladesh. Not only are they facing grim conditions in overcrowded refugee camps where they rely on food rations to survive, but now they have to worry about dangerous storms, heavy rains and the risk of flooding and landslides, as well as an increased likelihood of outbreaks of disease,” Ms Cook said.
“In the coming months we’re going to see regular heavy rains that are guaranteed to bring even further hardship – destroying people’s shelters, flooding roads and making access to the camps extremely difficult. Making matters worse, we’re also at the beginning of the cyclone season. If a big storm hits the camps, it would be nothing short of disastrous, she added”