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27 April, 2018 12:09:22 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 27 April, 2018 09:11:07 AM
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Lack of funding puts 120,000 at grave risk

Monsoon perils for Rohingyas
HUMAYUN KABIR BHUIYAN
Lack of funding puts 120,000 at grave risk
This picture taken on Wednesday shows makeshift Rohingya refugee shelters in the ‘no man's land’. Myanmar's border lined with barb wire fences is visible behind. AFP Photo

Ahead of the monsoon and cyclone season, the lives of thousands of Rohingyas will be at grave risk if funding cannot be ensured urgently, according to officials of the government and International Organisation for Migration (IOM), who co-chairs the Inter-Sector Coordination group with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Despite repeated urgent appeals, funding is not arriving, putting the lives of the persecuted people at grave risk, they said.

So far only 7 per cent of $182 million appealed by IOM, the UN migration agency, has been met, said the officials, adding that the situation is ‘really desperate’.

At least 120,000 people are expected to be at grave risk of landslides and floods when the monsoon hits the steep sandy slopes of the Cox’s Bazar settlements, according to IOM.

Of them, said an IOM official, the condition of 20,000 to 25,000 people, who are living under only tarpaulin, is ‘life-

threatening’. “”The arrival of the rains first marks the start of what is going to be an incredibly challenging period for the refugees and those working to support them, with the worst yet to come when cyclone and monsoon seasons hit in the coming weeks,” said John McCue, IOM’s senior operations coordinator in Cox’s Bazar.

“IOM and our partners are working flat out to do as much as possible to mitigate risks and prepare people for the dangers to come. But the grim reality is that most people are living under tarpaulins on highly unstable ground and are going to survive months of rain, floods, landslides and possible cyclones,” he said.

“They are in desperate need of support and protection and we simply do not have the funding we need to deliver a fraction of what is required,” he added.

Over a million Rohingyas took shelter in settlements in Cox’s Bazar to escape the unprecedented atrocities orchestrated by the Myanmar security forces, local Buddhist mobs and people from other ethnic groups in Rakhine.

“We are aware of the challenges Rohingyas are going to face in the ast approaching monsoon season. And, we along with the international organisation are doing our bit to ensure their safety,” said a top official of the government while talking to The Independent.

“One single death owing to the lack of funding will be the last thing we will want,” he said.

About the lack of funding, the official said, “It should never be a problem as we are always assured by the international community that money will not be a problem.”

“We do hope they will live up to their pledge,” he added.

According to IOM, the cash shortfall is threatening the ability of aid agencies to respond to the inevitable emergencies that will arise during monsoon. Therefore, the UN migration agency is urgently appealing for funds.

With monsoon and cyclone season just weeks away, urgent action is underway by IOM and partner agencies, along with the government of Bangladesh, to improve conditions in the camps and help the refugees to build resilience against the dangers to come, said the IOM.

In addition to shelter upgrades, thousands of families at risk are also being relocated to safer ground.

IOM is working with WFP and UNHCR to prepare more land for people to set up their shelters in safer locations less prone to flooding and landslides. But despite these efforts, it is nearly impossible to mitigate all disasters due to the topography of the camps, the expected weather conditions and lack of funding.

SI

 

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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