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Rohingya camps in Bangladesh face cyclone

– Joint measures should be taken ahead of monsoon season to address risk factors at Rohingya camps, experts say

DHAKA, Bangladesh (BT) – Measures should be taken in a coordinated way ahead of the monsoon season to address risk factors at the Rohingyacamps in Bangladesh, experts said on Wednesday.

The experts were speaking at a workshop, titled Cyclone and Monsoon Preparedness: Cox’s Bazar District and Camp Settlements, jointly organized by Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG) and the government of Bangladesh in southern Cox’s Bazar city, said a press release issued by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

“We have 6,585 volunteers ready [to help Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh during monsoon season], among which 990 in Teknaf, 375 in Ukhiya and 1,180 in Cox’s Bazar,” Ahmadul Haq, director of government-run Cyclone Program Preparedness, said on the first-day of the workshop.

Filip Papas, senior coordinator of ISCG, for his part, said: “As the Rohingyacamps settlements are very dense and built of extremely fragile materials, risk of landfall during and after cyclone is still very high.”

Collaboration and cooperation among all organizations working in Cox’s Bazar for risk reduction at Rohingya camps are important, the press release quoted Md Rafiqul Islam Babu, deputy secretary general of Bangladesh Red Crescent Society, as saying.

– Persecuted community 

The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world’s most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingyarefugees, mostly women and children, have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017.

Since Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).

More than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others were beaten, said the OIDA report, titled “Forced Migration of Rohingya: The Untold Experience.”

Some 18,000 Rohingya women and girls were raped by Myanmar’s army and police and over 115,000 Rohingya homes were burned down and 113,000 others vandalized, it added.

The UN has also documented mass gang rapes, killings – including of infants and young children – brutal beatings and disappearances committed by Myanmar state forces.

In a report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity and genocidal intent.

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