UNHCR warns of severe implications for annual monsoon response in Bangladesh

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, warns of life-threatening consequences if annual monsoon preparations cannot be completed on time in Bangladesh amid the global outbreak of COVID-19.
In Bangladesh, so far there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection among the Rohingya refugee population. Despite this, both host communities and refugees in Cox’s Bazar, with a population density one and a half times higher than New York City, are considered to be among the most at risk globally in this pandemic. The area is also seasonally prone to both landslides and flash flooding.

This year, the annual monsoon preparations have been impacted by the suspension of disaster risk reduction (DRR) efforts, including improvements to drainage systems and slope stabilization work. Similarly, the relocation of refugees living in areas at high risk of flooding and landslides has also been delayed. Delivery of supplies has also been challenging, as the COVID-19 related “lockdown” has impacted road transport.

 

This is an extract of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic during a press briefing on 21 April at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. Read the full summary: COVID-19: UNHCR warns of severe implications for annual monsoon response in Bangladesh.