DHAKA: Landslides triggered by monsoon rains killed at least 12 people Tuesday in Bangladesh near camps housing one million Rohingya refugees, officials said.
Aid agencies have been warning of the potential for a humanitarian catastrophe over the coming months as heavy rains lash an area home to the world´s largest refugee camp. Most of Tuesday´s victims were buried under mud when surrounding hills gave way after a deluge. Eleven people died in Naniarchar including a family of four, while several people remained missing, district administrator Mamunur Rashid told AFP.
Another person was killed in neighbouring Cox´s Bazar district, police said. Landslides have so far killed at least 13 people this week, after a Rohingya boy was crushed to death by a collapsing mud wall at the Kutupalong refugee camp on Monday.
Some 200,000 Rohingya who live on hills around the refugee camps are at risk of death or injury from monsoon rains, officials and relief agencies have said. Many of the hills around the settlements have been cleared of trees to build shelters, making the land highly unstable. Nearly 29,000 people have been moved to new locations ahead of the monsoon but the risk of a tragedy remains high.
“Relocation is continuing but the problem is where (to) find land to move people,” UN refugee agency spokesperson Caroline Gluck told AFP. At least 300 shelters were damaged by rains that began late Saturday, Bangladesh officials said.