Cox’s Bazar: Heavy rains trigger landslides in camps, Red Crescent response efforts underway

Cox’s Bazar/Kuala Lumpur/Geneva, 11 July 2019 - Heavy rains triggered landslides in camps in Cox’s Bazar housing more than 900,000 people from Rakhine state, Myanmar. Bangladesh Red Crescent Society response operations are underway in seven camps where more than 8,500 people are affected and over 1,800 shelters have been damaged or destroyed.

The World Meteorological Organization forecasts that in July, Bangladesh will be hit by the highest amount of rainfall for all of 2019, with more than 730 mm of rain expected over an average of 22 days.

Sanjeev Kafley, Head of Cox’s Bazar Sub-Office for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), said: “The rains have only just begun yet access to some of the camps is nearly impossible. Each day as more rain falls, more people are at risk of losing their homes, their belongings and their lives.”

The Bangladesh Red Crescent Society has mobilized seven national disaster response teams to support communities in the flood-affected camps. In addition to carrying out rapid assessments, the teams are distributing tarpaulins, sleeping mats, tie-down kits, ropes and community toolkits to families whose homes were destroyed or damaged by the landslides.

Syed Ali Nasim Khaliluzzaman, Head of Operations of the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society in Cox’s Bazar said: “With the amount of rain forecast, we are seriously concerned that we will not be able to access the affected people to provide them with essential relief items. Reaching these communities early with support and emergency supplies is a critical priority to prevent a major disaster”.

The Bangladesh Red Crescent Society and partners have built strong disaster preparedness and response capacity in the camps. In addition to contingency supplies and disaster teams pre-positioned ahead of the rains, more than 9,000 people have been trained as technicians to help people reinforce their own shelters. This includes making stronger knots to secure bamboo structures and digging drainage channels for faster water run-off.

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