Hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas threatened by landslides

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Bangladesh is starting to move 100,000 Rohingya refugees from Burma for fear that the monsoon will decimate their makeshift camps.

Hundreds of thousands of people have fled to Bangladesh in Burma violence. According to the High Commissioner for Refugees, 900,000 Rohingyas have fled to Bangladesh, including 688,000 since the crisis in late August. More than half of them are children, according to Unicef.

But as the monsoon approached, expected in May, they must again move their makeshift camps to try to put their lives once again to safety. The rainy season is likely to cause devastating floods and landslides where they have built makeshift shelters.

Naked land vulnerable to rains

Especially since the 14 km2 of forest that Bangladesh had granted them to settle there have since become bare lands particularly vulnerable to the arrival of rains. They were deforested both to build their homes and to serve as firewood.

rohingyas

Rohingya wade through the Naf River after having just crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, near Palong Khali, Bangladesh, on Nov. 1, 2017.
Bernat Armangue—AP

Bangladeshi refugee relief and repatriation commissioner Mohammad Abul Kalam announced that 10,000 refugees had already been resettled “to safer locations” on higher ground. According to him the authorities are preparing to move rest of the people to a safer place too in the coming months.

150,000 to 200,000 people to move

According to the UN, not only the number of people exposed to monsoon damage but also to the epidemics that can flourish in this period is 150 000. UNICEF reported last January about the dramatic living conditions in some camps related to open sewers, food and others.

The number of people to be moved is still undervalued but according to a local official who brings their number to 200,000.

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