The Current·New

Rohingya refugees 'very scared' as monsoon season approaches in Bangladesh

Rohingya Muslims fled persecution in Myanmar and many are in the world's biggest refugee camp in Bangladesh. But there's another threat they face — monsoon season.

Aid workers train refugees in disaster preparedness before rainy season

A Rohingya child fights against pouring rain at Kutupalong refugee camp, along the south-eastern coast of Bangladesh. (AFP/Getty Images)

Read Story Transcript

Rohingya Muslims who fled persecution in Myanmar now face another threat to their safety — monsoon season in Bangladesh.

More than 600,000 Rohingya refugees are packed together in the world's largest refugee camp on the coast of Bangladesh, an area vulnerable to landslides and flooding caused by the monsoons, as well as cyclones from sea.

Journalist Kaamil Ahmed explains why the tarpaulin-tent refugee camp has put the Rohingya at risk. 0:36

The Kutupalong camp has thousands of tents and shelters spread over hilly terrain, and may have as many as one million residents, according to the World Food Program USA. 

A number of aid agencies, including Bangladesh's Cyclone Preparedness Program, are teaching refugees the skills they need to survive and to help their neighbours when the storms come. But some fear it's not enough.

"International aid agencies do help them, but they don't reach everyone and don't know what is happening. There are a lot of people who are living in tents with a whole wall missing, a whole side missing," journalist Kaamil Ahmed told The Current guest host Megan Williams. 

"They're very scared."

To discuss the environmental challenges facing the Rohingya refugees, Williams spoke to:

  • Harun al Rashid, the disaster risk reduction coordinator for the American Red Cross in Bangladesh
  • Kaamil Ahmed, a freelance journalist covering the Rohingya crisis from Bangladesh

Listen to the full conversation above.

This segment was produced by The Current's Jessica Carr.