A severe cyclonic storm named 'Hamoon' made a fierce landfall at Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, on October 24, 2023, leaving a trail of destruction in the district and impacting the lives of over 470,000 people, including almost 2,500 Rohingya refugees. 

More than 30,000 households have been damaged in the local communities leaving more than 40,000 people temporarily displaced, while over 900 shelters housing Rohingya refugees have been affected, leaving nearly 800 people temporarily displaced. In the worst-affected area of Cox’s Bazar, 13 out of 15 IRC-supported learning centres - run by local organisation Agrajattra - sustaining significant damage. 

Ahead of the cyclone, the IRC acted swiftly to share voice-recorded messages to both Rohingya refugees and members of the local communities to raise awareness and provide crucial information about the impending storm. IRC teams also conducted extensive community outreach efforts to ensure that individuals were well-informed and prepared for the disaster. 

In addition, two IRC emergency response teams, including three Mobile Medical Teams, have been prepared while primary health care centers in the camps worked tirelessly to maintain uninterrupted access to essential health services for Rohingya refugees. Referral hubs with emergency ambulance services were also deployed to enhance the emergency response.

Hasina Rahman, IRC Bangladesh Director, said, 

“Over the past six months, Cox's Bazar district has been repeatedly hit by climate-induced disasters, including Cyclone Mocha and a devastating flash flood in Chakaria. The IRC has been delivering urgent humanitarian aid during this time to refugees and local communities alike, and our emergency response teams are on standby to address any medical emergencies and protection risks that arise as a result of Cyclone Hamoon.

“The International Rescue Committee remains committed to providing critical aid and support to the affected communities as they navigate the challenging road to recovery. Donations and assistance can be directed to the IRC's emergency response efforts in Cox's Bazar.

“It is imperative that we focus on sustainable solutions to reduce disaster risks, prepare communities against climate impacts, and ensure their resilience. Uninterrupted and sustainable funding is crucial in addressing these pressing climate crises in Bangladesh.”

The IRC began responding to the Rohingya crisis in Bangladesh in August 2017 and launched its operations officially in March 2018. With over 470 staff in Bangladesh and operating across 30 camps across and four host communities in Cox’s Bazar. Our teams provide essential healthcare as well as reproductive and maternal healthcare, child protection, education, prevention, and response to Gender-Based Violence, and Emergency Disaster Risk Reduction (EDRR). The IRC has been supporting communities in southern Bangladesh in Health, Protection, Education, and Economic Recovery, in response to climate change and climate-induced disasters since 2021.