Land­slides kill 11 Ro­hingya as mon­soon bat­ters camps

The Phnom Penh Post - - WORLD -

LAND­SLIDES trig­gered by mon­soon rains killed at least 11 peo­ple on Tues­day in Bangladesh near camps hous­ing one mil­lion Ro­hingya refugees, of­fi­cials said.

Aid agen­cies have been warn­ing of the po­ten­tial for a humanitarian catas­tro­phe over the com­ing months as heavy rains lash an area home to the world’s largest refugee camp.

Most of Tues­day’s vic­tims were buried un­der mud when sur­round­ing hills gave way af­ter a del­uge.

“Ten peo­ple . . . died in Na­niar­char” in­clud­ing a fam­ily of four, while sev­eral peo­ple re­mained miss­ing, district ad­min­is­tra­tor Ma­munur Rashid said.

An­other per­son was killed in neigh­bour­ing Cox’s Bazar district, po­lice said.

Land­slides have so far killed at least 12 peo­ple this week, af­ter a Ro­hingya boy was crushed to death by a col­laps­ing mud wall at the Ku­tu­pa­long refugee camp on Mon­day.

Some 200,000 Ro­hingya who live on hills around the refugee camps are at risk of death or in­jury from mon­soon rains, of­fi­cials and re­lief agen­cies have said.

Many of the hills around the set­tle­ments have been cleared of trees to build shel­ters, mak­ing the land highly un­sta­ble.

Nearly 29,000 peo­ple have been moved to new lo­ca­tions ahead of the mon­soon, but the risk of a tragedy re­mains high.

“Re­lo­ca­tion is con­tin­u­ing. But the prob­lem is where [to] find land to move peo­ple. We con­tinue to try to find places where we can move fam­i­lies to safer ar­eas,” UN refugee agency spokesper­son Caro­line Gluck said.

At least 300 Ro­hingya homes were dam­aged by rains that be­gan late Satur­day, Bangladesh of­fi­cials said.

The re­gion is fore­cast to re­ceive 2.5 me­tres (8.2 feet) of rain­fall dur­ing the mon­soon sea­son – roughly triple what Bri­tain gets in a year.

Last year, mon­soon rains trig­gered land­slides in Cox’s Bazar and the nearby Chit­tagong hill tracts, killing at least 170 peo­ple.

There are also fears flood­ing could spread dis­ease in the refugee camps.

About 700,000 Ro­hingya Mus­lims have fled neigh­bour­ing Myan­mar since last Au­gust af­ter an army crackdown which the UN says amounted to “eth­nic cleans­ing”. They join around 300,000 refugees from ear­lier vi­o­lence in mainly Bud­dhist Myan­mar, where the Ro­hingya are a per­se­cuted and state­less mi­nor­ity.

FRED DU­FOUR/AFP

Ro­hingya Mus­lim refugees take shel­ter from the rain dur­ing a food distri­bu­tion at Naya­para refugee camp in Bangladesh’s Ukhia district last year.

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