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Rohingya refugee crisis: monsoon season hits Bangladesh

Rohingya refugees and the local host communities of Cox’s Bazar District in Bangladesh continue to display immense resiliency amid the harsh conditions inflicted by the ongoing monsoon season.


For much of July, relentless rains have been pounding the area, which is home to more than 1 million Rohingya refugees. According to ISCG data for 4-11 July, flooding, landslides and wind storms have affected 13,738 people, within this time frame, throughout the 34 camps*.


UNFPA commends and supports the action taken by all humanitarian actors working closely in repairing and reconstructing shelters and other precautionary structures in order to ensure the safety and preserve the dignity of the affected populations.


Despite the ongoing weather-related challenges, UNFPA continues its efforts to make Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) and Gender-Based Violence (GBV) services available, including safe pregnancy and childbirth services as well as psychosocial counselling. Service providers, including community mobilizers, are facing difficult terrain and damaged facilities and shelters, and have been forced to adapt to shorter hours, but are still managing to provide these essential services.


Ten Women-Led Community Centres (WLCC) and 22 health facilities have been spared damage, but have experienced lower numbers in attendance due to landslides and unrelenting rain thus rendering access to the facilities difficult. Women don’t stop giving birth during crises, and UNFPA-trained midwives and other health personnel continue to ensure safe deliveries, regardless of the taxing weather.


Six out of the 20 UNFPA Women Friendly Spaces (WFS) have sustained leaks in their roofs, with water entering rooms where services, including midwives’ and psychosocial consultations, are provided. This has hindered the execution of services, availability of staff and attendance of beneficiaries. Those refugees whose houses are damaged have found shelter in Women Friendly Spaces, as well as Women-Led Community Centres. Repair plans are delayed due to the continued heavy rain but will commence at the earliest possible moment.


As we approach the two-year mark of the Rohingya refugee influx triggered by violence in Rakhine State of Myanmar, it is imperative to reiterate the utmost importance of the work that remains, well beyond the current monsoon season. Since August 25th 2017, thousands upon thousands of women, girls and young people have been supported by UNFPA and a range of government, UN and civil society partners. UNFPA Bangladesh reiterates its continued commitment to the promotion of sexual and reproductive health and rights, the response to gender-based violence, and the creation of equal opportunities for both Rohingya refugees and the host communities of Cox’s Bazar.