UNHCR calls for urgent shelter for cyclone victims

UNHCR calls for urgent shelter for cyclone victims

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Dhaka – United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has said urgent shelter is needed for those affected in Bangladesh and Myanmar by the cyclone Mora that swept across the Bay of Bengal earlier this week damaging thousands of homes in the two countries.
“Many refugees and internally displaced people are among the local victims,” said UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic at a press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
Some injuries were reported among Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar and displaced people in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, he was quoted as saying at the press conference.

An 11-year-old refugee died on Wednesday when he was hit by a falling tree branch in Kutupalong refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, according to the summary of the press briefing the agency received received from Geneva.
In Myanmar’s central Rakhine state, a displaced boy, aged 10, was reported missing after he was swept away by rising waters.
UNHCR assessments in Bangladesh’s Kutupalong and Nayapara camps found that most of the refugees’ homes, which are built with mud, bamboo, corrugated iron and plastic sheets, suffered some damages. About 20 percent have been completely destroyed.
Communal structures such as schools, community centres and the offices of the government and NGOs have also suffered damages. “Our partners are assessing the situation in makeshift sites and local villages hosting refugees,” Mahecic said.
In Myanmar, the government is conducting assessments with the contribution of UNHCR and other humanitarian agencies.
Hundreds of shelters in the camps housing internally displaced people in central Rakhine state have suffered damage in the strong winds. This includes 186 shelters that collapsed while 339 are severely damaged.
In both the countries, UNHCR and their partners are supporting government-led relief efforts to assist refugees, displaced people and their host communities who were affected by this natural disaster.
According to the UNHCR, the working environment remains challenging amid persistent rains.
UNHCR is seeking funds from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to help those affected by the cyclone in the two Bangladesh camps where the UNHCR is authorised to work.
“We’re also working with Unicef to support repairs to schools to minimise disruption of the school year that started on Thursday,” said the UNHCR spokesperson adding that UNHCR will provide further humanitarian aid in close liaison with the authorities.
Food rations, drinking water and latrines are some of the other needs identified so far in the cyclone-affected areas.
The UNHCR said more likely need to be identified as further assessments are completed in Bangladesh and Myanmar.
In Bangladesh, there are more than 33,000 Rohingya refugees registered in the official camps of Kutupalong and Nayapara.
Outside the camps, more than 200,000 undocumented Rohingya are living in makeshift sites and local villages in south-eastern Bangladesh, including an estimated 74,000 who arrived after fleeing the violence in northern Rakhine state in October 2016.
In Myanmar, there are some 120,500 internally displaced people who have been living in bamboo longhouses in IDP camps in central Rakhine since they lost their homes in the 2012 inter-communal violence. -UNB

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