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Bangladesh: UN agencies helping Rohingya refugee camps brace for emergency situations

Cox’s Bazar At least 100,000 Rohingya refugees and vulnerable families in the local community in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, face life-threatening risks from landslides and floods, and thousands more are at risk of disease and being cut off from assistance, according to assessments by the UN International Organization for Migration (IOM) and partners.

With emergency situations inevitable when the rains hit, it is crucial we work together now to limit disaster as much as possible before it occurs, IOM Emergency Coordinator in Cox’s Bazar Manuel Marques Pereira said in a statement on Tuesday.

Preparation efforts are underway to enable the Organization to respond swiftly and effectively during crisis events. Work is also ongoing to improve infrastructure and setting up early warning systems, the statement said.

It added that IOM has created disaster risk reduction safety committees to warn refugees of what to expect and how to prepare for the wind and rain that are expected to bring deadly floods and landslides.

Referring to the scale of the challenges including the sheer size of the refugee population, limited suitable land, and harsh environmental conditions, the statement said it will be impossible to move everyone at risk, and therefore rapid emergency response action will be critical to saving lives.

To improve response, IOM, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), humanitarian partners and government agencies will be attending an emergency drill on Thursday, to develop rapid and coordinated operations.

Since late August, nearly 700,000 members of Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslim minority have been driven from their homes due to brutal and widespread violence in Rakhine state, joining some 200,000 Rohingya refugees displaced earlier. Together with local host communities, the number of persons in need of humanitarian assistance in Cox’s Bazar is estimated to number over a million.

Source: International Islamic News Agency

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