Today (Tuesday 20 March), the International Development Committee (IDC) published its report into monsoon preparedness in Cox’s Bazar, where almost a million persecuted Rohingya people are living in the fragile and cramped camps. This has been reported in the Mirror.
The IDC visited the camps a few weeks ago and witnessed how UK aid is taking care of the sick, feeding malnourished children and is providing much needed shelter for families.
Their report has called for the international community to work with the Government of Bangladesh to ensure that the Rohingya men, women and children who have faced so much since they were driven from their homes in Burma, are protected during the fast-approaching annual cyclone and monsoon season which has the potential to cause significant devastation and loss of life.
The UK is taking the lead and stepping up its efforts to ensure that measures are put in place to protect the estimated 102,000 Rohingya people living in areas at risk of flooding and 12,000 people who are at risk from landslides.
So far, the UK has helped to ensure more than 158,000 people have received reinforced shelter and sandbags to protect them from winds and flood water.
Work has also begun on the reinforcement of pathways through camps needed to deliver supplies and services. Plans to cope with the aftermath of flooding and landslides are also being stepped up.
Water-borne diseases are common in the aftermath of a flood, and UK aid is ensuring that more than 250,000 people will continue to have access to safe drinking water throughout the rainy season.
UK-supported cholera, measles and diphtheria vaccination campaigns have also taken place in readiness for the monsoons.
As part of this campaign 391,000 children under the age of seven have been vaccinated, with a further 400,000 children due to receive the vaccinations planned by the end of March. These will provide protection against some of the most common diseases in the camps, which can be more widespread during the rainy season.
Healthcare workers are also being trained to prevent, identify and treat common illnesses and to manage higher caseloads.
International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said:
With the cyclone and monsoon season in Bangladesh imminent it is time to firmly focus our efforts on Cox’s Bazar where nearly a million persecuted and displaced Rohingya people now live.
The Rohingya people have suffered so much already and now they are living in constant fear of the imminent floods causing utter devastation and destruction.
Our swift response can save lives. Right now UK aid is strengthening roads and pathways to ensure vital medication and food can reach the very centre of the camps. UK aid is also reinforcing shelters to protect vulnerable families at risk of flood water and landslides.