Bangladesh: Cox’s Bazaar Flood - Information Bulletin

The situation

Heavy monsoon rains have been affecting the divisions of Barishal and Chattogram in southern Bangladesh over the last week. The World Meteorological Organization has forecasted that rainfall will be the highest for the country in 2019 (733 mm) in July with an average rainfall of 22 days for the entire month. This is supported by observations made by the Bangladesh Metrological Department (BMD) and Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre (FFWC), which indicate a steady increase in rainfall from 18 mm on 30 June 2019 and peaking at 172.10 mm on 3 July 2019. Between 6 to 8 July 2019, rainfall levels have been sitting between 36.40 mm and 47.40 mm.

Since 2 July 2019, the heavy rains have been impacting settlements in Cox’s Bazar, where more than 900,000 displaced people from Rakhine state, Myanmar reside. The camps are at risk of landslide, flood, fire, windstorm and other health hazards, mostly in the monsoon season.
Several small landslides have occurred, and the incessant rain has impacted road access in some camps. No lives have been lost but approximately 413 shelters have been destroyed and 1,205 shelters have been partially damaged.

Red Cross and Red Crescent action

Bangladesh Red Crescent Society has activated seven National Disaster Response Teams (NDRTs) to undertake assessments in camps covered by the ongoing EA operation as well as those covered under their Cyclone Preparedness Program. Initial assessments of camps covered under the existing operation (camp 11, 12, 13, 14 and 19) have found that approximately 413 shelters have been destroyed and 1,205 shelters have been partially damaged. To date, no damages have been reported in three of the camps (5, 17 and 18) covered by the ongoing operation. However, assessments are ongoing in the camps and camp focal have been sent to camps 5, 17 and 18 to check if there have been any damages.

Cyclone Preparedness Programme (CPP) trained volunteers and Bangladesh Red Crescent Society (BDRCS) staff, including the Camp Focal Person (CFP) have been working in heavy rain, to undertake damage and needs assessments in five camps and to help families in urgent need in seven camps. Approximately 300 households have been assisted to date. BDRCS have supported rescue efforts of people from shelters destroyed by small landslides occurring in the camps. Around 13 households have been relocated, due to substantial shelter damage, or as a precautionary measure and emergency supplies are being distributed to help rebuild, repair and strengthen damaged shelters.

In total BDRCS has distributed:

• 600 pcs tarpaulins in camps 11, 12 and 14.

• 600 kg of ropes in camps 11, 12 and 14.

• 110 sleeping mattresses have been distributed in camp 11 and 10 pieces in camp 14.

• More than 1,000 pieces of bamboo across the camps.

For those camps not covered under the operation, BDRCS is liaising closely with site management agencies to address their needs. If needs are not being met effectively by existing partnerships within these camps, BDRCS is discussing with IFRC about how best to meet these needs. Currently health and hygiene needs are being addressed by activities being implemented under the ongoing operation. However, more information will be obtained from detailed needs assessments in the coming days to determine whether additional needs required in the affected areas.

PNS, IFRC and BDRCS are meeting regularly using the existing coordination mechanisms for the ongoing operation. IFRC is attending weekly Emergency Preparedness Working Group (EPWG) meetings with other stakeholders including IOM, UNHCR and WFP. The EPWG have a monsoon contingency plan in place and this has been activated in view of the impact of the heavy rains. Information is being shared amongst the working group members about the impacts of the monsoon on camps as well as existing resourcing to respond to the evolving situation. IFRC and PNS are also attending Host Community Working Group meetings to coordinate with other stakeholders to ensure that these communities are monitored closely for impacts. Technical focal points in WASH and Shelter are regularly attending Cluster Meetings where issues arising from the current monsoon are also being discussed.