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Monsoon rains can be devastating, particularly in the overcrowded refugee camps in Bangladesh where nearly 1 million Rohingya live in makeshift shelters.
It is over a year now since the conflict in Myanmar caused a huge exodus of Rohingya people, creating one of the world’s largest refugee crises. Almost 1 million Rohingya have fled for their lives to a small strip of land on neighbouring Bangladesh’s south-east coast.
Most refugees are living in makeshift shelters built from bamboo and tarpaulin on bare earth. Some are built on uneven ground and on hills as steep as 45 degrees. Monsoon rains can be devastating, particularly in these overcrowded conditions, where the needs are already so great.
Trócaire has been responding to the crisis through our local partner Caritas Bangladesh. With the arrival of the monsoon season Caritas Bangladesh piloted an innovative project to improve the living conditions of Rohingya refugees.
These are the nine steps they took to monsoon-proof the refugee camp.
An important element to this project was involving refugees themselves. The work of preparing their surroundings and working on their shelters has at least given them a measure of dignity and pride.
Hasina, 50, volunteered to take part. “I’ve never used these tools before”, she says, “but Caritas experts showed us what to do. When we first tried, the rain came through. But then we corrected our mistakes, and last night when it rained, the shelter stood up to it. I’m feeling very proud.”
As well as provinding shelter in the camps, Caritas Bangladesh have provided the following supports to families since the crisis began in August 2017: