The Daily Star::
UN and other aid agencies are concerned that the monsoon will exacerbate the already dire situation in the Rohingya camps where almost 860,000 refugees live in crammed accommodations, many of which are located in hazardous terrain.
Drinking water sources in the camps get contaminated during the monsoon while the risk of spreading water-borne diseases increases, they said, adding that the coronavirus might further aggravate the situation this year.
The humanitarian community has faced additional challenges in implementing monsoon preparedness activities this year due to the Covid-19 outbreak in the camps, said a statement issued yesterday by the Inter-Sector Coordination Group (ISCG), a coordinating body of the UN, NGOs and the government which provides humanitarian assistance to Rohingyas.
It said the reduced presence aid workers due to Covid-19 pandemic has limited their abilities to focus on various repair works.
Despite the challenges, the statement said, the aid agencies and the government were scaling up the preparedness for critical disaster risk reduction and resilience building, along with Covid-19 response.
ISCG partners and some 3,000 Bangladeshi and Rohingya volunteers are working tirelessly to ensure monsoon preparedness and response.
ISCG Senior Coordinator Nicole Epting said engineers and workers were working relentlessly to repair the affected roads, culverts, and bridges to ensure uninterrupted supply of medical and other critical services to Rohingya and Bangladeshi families.
Strengthening the structures is vital to reduce landslides and waterlogging in the camps and adjacent host communities, especially during the prolonged periods of rain that typically lasts from June to October, she said.
ISCG says to prevent contamination of drinking water sources, the humanitarian community is reinforcing major water and sanitation infrastructures, disinfecting latrines, supplying soaps, and maintaining the largest human waste treatment plant ever built in a refugee camp.
Besides, the UN agencies and NGOs have stocked various emergency items, including food, tarpaulins, ropes, floor mats, and water purification tablets, to ensure support to Rohingyas as well as the host communities.
ISCG partners called on the international community to continue their support to the Rohingya refugees.