The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is responding to flash floods in Bangladesh that have displaced over 15,000 Rohingya refugees and 300,000 members of the local communities in Cox’s Bazar. 

The fragile infrastructure of the refugee camps has been severely damaged, with over 2,000 shelters destroyed as well as facilities such as health centres and community centres that are vital to the wellbeing of refugees. At least four people, including two Rohingya refugees, are reported to have died in the floods.

In response to the disaster, two IRC mobile health teams are on standby to deploy to affected areas in Cox’s Bazar who are ready to deliver emergency health and protection services to refugee and local communities. Meanwhile, our teams are preparing to carry out a needs assessment to understand the full extent of the damage in the host communities surrounding the refugee camp. 

Hasina Rahman, IRC Bangladesh Director, said,

“The present situation underscores the urgent need for long-term solutions to address the vulnerability of Rohingya refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar. This includes comprehensive disaster preparedness, infrastructure improvements, and sustainable measures to safeguard the lives and dignity of these displaced communities.

“As usual, those who are most vulnerable in society —people with disabilities, women, children, and the elderly—have been disproportionately impacted by the disaster in Cox’s Bazar. These groups are now in more danger than they were before the floods as a result of the destruction that has destroyed critical infrastructure and created obstacles to humanitarians providing basic services.

“Time and again, we have highlighted the vulnerability of Bangladesh to climate change, as extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and having increasingly more devastating impacts on refugees and the local communities. These events are becoming all too predictable, and it is becoming more likely that we will see more loss of life in the future. 

“The situation demands an immediate and coordinated global response to address the mounting humanitarian crisis. International agencies, governments, and organizations are urged to come forward with swift and robust assistance to provide essential aid, Fire and flood resistance shelter, and medical care to the affected refugees and host communities.”

The IRC began responding to the Rohingya crisis in August 2017 and launched its response officially in March 2018. With over 400 staff in Bangladesh and operating across 27 camps across the district, our teams provide essential healthcare to the host community as well as Rohingya population in Cox’s Bazar, as well as reproductive and maternal healthcare, child protection, education, prevention and response to Gender-Based Violence, and Emergency Disaster Risk Reduction (EDRR)