Ex-UN chief concerned over monsoon floods in Rohingya camps

KUTUPALONG, Bangladesh — Former U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed concern that monsoon floods could threaten the lives of Rohingya refugees in sprawling camps in Bangladesh.

Ban, who was visiting in his role as head of The Hague-based Global Commission on Adaptation to climate change, or GCA, said he was "saddened and dismayed" by what he saw while visiting the Kutupalong camp Wednesday in the southern coastal district of Cox's Bazar, where more than 1 million Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar have fled military-backed persecution in their home country.

Bangladesh has a history of violent cyclones but has reduced the number of casualties from such natural disasters by investing in roads and other public infrastructure, building cyclone shelters and training volunteers across its vast coastal region, which has the world's largest continuous beach.

Still, the U.N.'s children's agency UNICEF said earlier this week in a statement that thousands of families living in the refugee camps and Bangladeshi communities in surrounding villages are at risk from flooding and landslides caused by heavy rainfall in the last few days. The situation is particularly grim in the camps, where many of the more than 4,000 families affected have been relocated to safer areas, it said.

One 7-year-old boy drowned following heavy rains, and two children were injured, the agency said. It said that schools and other facilities serving more than 60,000 children have been damaged.

"It's just impossible to think of how all these young people live in this condition... I know that there are more than half a million young people," Ban told The Associated Press in an interview during his visit to the camps at Kutupalong.

Bangladesh is one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change. Ban was visiting along with the World Bank's Chief Executive Officer Kristalina Georgieva and other commissioners of the GCA, which was initiated by the Netherlands and set up in 2018. Ban and Microsoft founder Bill Gates of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are co-chairs along with Georgieva.

Ban and other GCA leaders could see vast areas of the delta nation of 160 million under water as they flew on Air Force helicopters from Dhaka, the capital, to Cox's Bazar.

"Bangladesh, of course, is one of the most vulnerable countries and climate change is happening much, much faster," said Ban, who also met with the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, to discuss the country's efforts to adapt to flooding, rising sea levels and extreme weather.

"Bangladesh has been wisely investing with a vision of Prime Minister Hasina. That is why we are here to learn the lessons from Bangladesh and to disseminate this message to the world far and wide," he said.

Georgieva praised Bangladesh's progress in reducing damage and deaths from the monsoon season floods.

During the ride to Cox's Bazar, the officials saw low-lying land "as far as the eye can see, a lot of water, it is monsoon season, but also roads are elevated so they can sustain the flooding," she said. "More and more green belts that protect the inland communities and I also saw that the agriculture is clearly doing well."

The GCA was launched with the support of 17 convening countries including China, Canada and the UK and low-lying countries vulnerable to climate change including Bangladesh and the Marshall Islands.

You may also like these

Bangladeshi newspaper editors protest digital...

Oct 13, 2018

An influential body of newspaper editors in Bangladesh has criticized the government for a new...

Doctors in India remove 40 knives from man's...

Aug 23, 2016

Doctors in northern India say they've surgically removed 40 knives from the stomach of a man who...

Crackdown creates meat shortage in most populous...

Mar 27, 2017

India's most populous state is running out of meat, with the government cracking down on illegal...

Girl found living with monkeys in Indian forest

Apr 6, 2017

Indian police are reviewing reports of missing children to try to identify a girl who was found...

UN officials urge India to lift social media ban...

May 11, 2017

Two United Nations experts are urging the Indian government to lift ban on social media sites and...

Search
Broaden News

Sign up now!

Recent Discovery will take you to the captivating developments in science, technology, and the universe around us. We deliver to you the latest news, theories, and developments in the world of science.

Contact us: sales[at]recentdiscovery.com