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Climate change also hits refugees

Published : Tuesday, 3 October, 2023 at 12:00 AM  Count : 447
Barsha Kairy

Climate change also hits refugees

Climate change also hits refugees

The global refugee population has grown dramatically. Many countries are dealing with refugee problems and are struggling to meet basic requirements like housing, food, and healthcare. Refugees are living in volatile times and face countless threats to their lives and security around the world. Many refugees are driven to migrate and seek a better life elsewhere due to a lack of protection and rights in their home countries, putting a strain on hosting governments in Asia and Africa that are trying to provide vital services and resources. The Rohingya are the most visible case of displacement in the Pacific Asia region.

Bangladesh, on the other hand, is particularly vulnerable to climate change and has been ranked as the ninth most affected country in the world by extreme weather occurrences. Cox's Bazar district is the home to the world's largest refugee camp. The arrival of over 1 million Rohingya refugees fleeing persecution in their home nation of Myanmar has put enormous strain on the region's already vulnerable local ecosystems. Many of the camps in Cox's Bazar are located on steep slopes, and vast tracts of forest have been hacked down to build huts and provide firewood to those who live there. These activities have made the terrain unstable, and landslides likely hit during heavy rainfall. After strong monsoon rains hit the camps in Cox's Bazar in 2021, floods and landslides demolished 2500 houses, killing at least six people.

The camp shelters' weak infrastructure is greatly influenced by extreme conditions, providing limited protection against both high heat and heavy rain and wind. Adolescent girls have to tie down their shelters every year so that they don't be blown away by storms. The regular maintenance of these shelters is insufficient and is primarily done by the migrants themselves. They receive house materials from the camp-in-charge (CIC) office to build or repair shelters; nevertheless, families frequently need to purchase housing materials from the local market, which most refugees cannot afford.

Climate change has created extreme weather in Bangladesh throughout the year, but the Rohingya refugees are especially vulnerable to these disruptive weather patterns due to their already difficult living conditions. In addition to flash floods and landslides, excessive rain creates water-logging since the drainage system is not properly maintained. Heavy rain greatly limits movement and can be especially difficult for those with impairments. The muddy roads and slippery slopes of the steep terrain make it difficult for people to achieve their daily necessities. It can also be difficult to use the washroom due to damaged roadways during the rainy season.This issue is more severe in camps located on mountainous terrain than in those located on the plains. People living in the mountainous area face weather-related mobility limits and are frequently attacked by landslides.

During the cyclone Mocha people living inside the camps suffered a lot due to absence of specialised cyclone centres at the camps. Schools, mosques, and madrasas, which were relatively stronger infrastructure, were converted into temporary shelters that were not sturdy enough to keep people safe.We need to explore how the worldwide community considers this agenda and join forces to support climate-friendly humanitarian efforts in the camps.Several studies have proposed that increasing climate-responsive social protection, such as providing materials to help Rohingya families improve their shelters to defend against climate-related dangers, could be a possible response.

The writer is a contributor

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