Rohingya Vision

Displaced Rohingya rocked by devastating floods

The Rohingya have faced violence and isolation - and now devastating floods. Image by: Al Jazeera

Displaced Rohingya rocked by devastating floods
August 27
10:40 2015

Akkyab, Myanmar – Amid the mud and drizzle, Khin Maung Myint surveyed the scene from his single-room bamboo hut. With floodwaters reaching knee height in places, he worried about the damage inflicted on his ramshackle home by monsoonal storms.

The father-of-six, who also goes by the religious name Elias, lives in the Dar Paing camp for internally displaced persons (IDP) in western Myanmar with his wife and children. He is 36, but his dire circumstances have aged him beyond his years.

“With young children living in this one room, it’s not a good situation,” he said through an interpreter. “Sleeping is very difficult as there is not enough room for eight family members.”

Severe weather across Myanmar has affected more than 1.6 million people and killed at least 117 in the past two months, according to the United Nations.

Storms, floods and landslides have displaced nearly 400,000 households in many parts of the country.

Among those affected are members of the Rohingya minority in western Myanmar’s Arakan (Rakhine) state, who were forced from their homes by anti-Muslim violence in 2012.

About 140,000 Rohingya currently live in IDP camps around the state capital, Akkyab (Sittwe).

Residents live in tents or, like Elias, in cramped bamboo huts with tin or tarpaulin roofs. In recent weeks, they have been battling torrential rainstorms that have left about 40 families homeless.

Five large shelters were destroyed by the storms, residents said last week, forcing people to move to other camps or take shelter in temporary school buildings.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has provided blankets, mats, tarpaulins and other items to affected camp residents, while the Myanmar government and the World Food Programme (WFP) have provided food aid to flood victims.

Residents receive regular rations of rice, beans, salt and oil from the WFP, which are supplemented with fruit, vegetables and fish from the Bay of Bengal just a few kilometres away.

“Water, sanitation and hygiene needs were provided, and mobile health clinics visited the camps distributing oral rehydration,” Orla Fagan, spokeswoman for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said on Tuesday.

“Shelters in camps for displaced people are deteriorating after three years and need to be repaired or reconstructed after the floods,” said Fagan.

No trained doctors work at the Dar Paing camp, which is home to some 7,000 people. Pharmacist Mohammed Tayub, 36, does his best to treat illnesses with his meager supply of medicines.

He usually sees about 50 patients a week, but he said this number has increased substantially in recent weeks. Most are children, many of whom suffer from diarrhea, vomiting, coughs and fevers.

“Living in this situation is not safe for the kids,” he said. “There are too many people living together so diseases spread easily.”

Note: Changes have been made, AL JAZEERA is not responsible for these.




About Author



Related Articles