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Thousands of refugees have moved after monsoon rains caused landslides and flash flooding in the refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar.
At least six Rohingya died on Tuesday and thousands have been moved to refugee camps in southeastern Bangladesh after monsoon rains caused landslides and flash flooding in the hilly settlements, officials said.
Five Rohingya, including three children, were buried and killed after part of a hill crushed their bamboo and tarpaulin huts in the Balukhali camp, refugee commissioner Shah Rezwan Hayat said.
“Days of heavy rain caused the landslides,” he told AFP news agency.
Another Rohingya child died after drowning in a stream in the nearby Palong Khali refugee camp, the official said, adding that all the streams were raging in the camps due to flash flooding.
— DRFS, Rohingya grassroots organization (@MJubair14) July 27, 2021
“We also rescued two injured people and sent them to hospitals,” he told AFP, adding that thousands of Rohingya families had been relocated within the camps to keep them safe.
Rohingya refugees mostly live in huts made of bamboo and plastic sheets that cling to steep, barren hills, and flooding has further worsened their living conditions.
“Monsoons and landslides make our situation even more precarious,” Mohammad Ismail, a Rohingya refugee, told Reuters news agency.
The Bangladesh Weather Bureau said it expects heavy rain in the coming days.
Last month, two refugees were killed in separate landslides during heavy rain.
About 740,000 Rohingya fled their state homes in Rakhine in August 2017, fleeing oppression by Myanmar’s security forces. UN investigators have concluded that the operation was carried out with “genocidal intent”.
Thousands of these refugee families, especially those living in the valleys in the 2,832-acre settlements, are at high risk of landslides every year during the monsoon.
In recent months, Bangladesh has moved 18,000 refugees to the low-lying Bhashan Char Island from cramped settlements on the mainland.
But many of those who have moved say they were forced to, and health and other facilities on the silt island, in an area often hit by deadly cyclones, are poor.
Bangladesh rejects allegations that Rohingya have been forcibly relocated and says conditions on the island are much better than on the mainland.
However, last month a report from Human Rights Watch said refugees feared they will be exposed to terrible conditions during the monsoon season and struggle with “inadequate” health and education facilities.
In June, officials in Bangladesh said they contained an outbreak of diarrhea who killed at least four Rohingya refugees and infected 1,500 others.
Authorities plan to eventually move 100,000 of them to Bhashan Char.
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