Death toll due to heavy rains rises to 14 in southeastern Bangladesh
Dhaka, Jul 28 (EFE).- The death toll due to heavy rain and landslides in Bangladesh’s southeastern Cox’s Bazar district jumped to 14 on Wednesday, while the authorities scrambled to evacuate hundreds of people, including Rohingya refugees.
According to official sources, eight people – including five children of a family – died in three different parts of the district on Wednesday, a day after six Rohingyas lost their lives in a refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar.
Parvez Chowdhury, the administration chief of the district’s Teknaf area, told EFE five children of a family died after their house collapsed around midnight.
“The incident happened after midnight between 1.30 am to 2 am, We have also rescued two people alive. One of them was injured,” he said.
Chowdhury added that fire service and forest department officials as well as local volunteers have been engaged in rescue efforts amid the incessant downpour and have so far managed to relocate 700 people to government shelters.
Local government representative Nur Ahmed confirmed to EFE the death of another person in Whykong area in Teknaf.
Mahfuzur Rahman, the administration chief of Maheshkhali in Cox’s Bazar, told EFE two people died in his area – one from a landslide and the other from a wall collapse.
Humanitarian agencies said they have increased their rescue efforts in Rohingya camps in the area after being severely impacted by torrential rain.
“Initial reports suggest over 2,500 shelters, housing over 12,000 refugees, have been affected by incidents including soil erosion and landslides, flooding, wind and storms,” Hannah MacDonald, a spokesperson of UN refugee agency UNHCR, told EFE.
MacDonald added that more than 5,000 refugees have been forced to temporarily relocate and have sought shelter in community facilities or with other families
Aid workers have often warned against landslides and waterlogging in Rohingya camps, located in southeastern Bangladesh.
Earlier this month, the United Nations agency International Organization for Migration (IOM) said it was assessing the risk of landslides, while also strengthening drainage networks, installing slope protection measures and upgrading key pathways in the region.
IOM and its implementing partners have also trained and equipped 10 mobile medical teams and 350 community health workers to act as first responders, while 11 ambulances have been kept ready.
Around 738,000 Rohingyas have fled Myanmar to Bangladesh since Aug. 25, 2017, following a military campaign in response to an alleged attack by a Rohingya insurgent group against checkposts of the security forces. EFE