Press release

UK aid is helping to protect vulnerable Rohingya people ahead of devastating floods

The UK is stepping up its efforts to help Rohingya men, women and children living in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.

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This is ahead of the fast-approaching annual cyclone and monsoon season which has the potential to cause significant devastation and loss of life.

Almost a million persecuted Rohingya people, who have fled neighbouring Burma, live in the fragile and cramped camps.

The UN estimates 102,000 of them are living in areas at risk of flooding and 12,000 people are at risk from landslides.

Alongside international aid organisations International Organisation for Migration and UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), 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.

More than 5,000 new latrines have been constructed and have been strategically placed throughout the camps and plans to move more than 6,700 latrines to safe grounds have already begun.

UK-supported cholera, measles and diphtheria vaccination campaigns have also taken place in readiness for the monsoons.

These will provide protection against some of the most common diseases in the camps, which can be more widespread during the rainy season.

So far, 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.

Healthcare workers are also being trained to prevent, identify and treat common illnesses likely during the rainy season 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.

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Published 20 March 2018