sunny.png
Sunday October 20th, 2019 4:06PM

Ex-UN chief concerned over monsoon floods in Rohingya camps

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

KUTUPALONG, Bangladesh (AP) — 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, though 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.

On Thursday, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, or IFRC, said in a statement that heavy rains triggered landslides in camps in Cox's Bazar, prompting the agency to organize response operations in seven camps where more than 8,500 people have been affected and over 1,800 shelters have been damaged or destroyed.

It said the situation could be worse as the World Meteorological Organization forecasts that in July, Bangladesh will be hit by the highest amount of rainfall for all of 2019, with more than 730mm of rain expected over an average of 22 days.

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.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP World News, AP Business
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
The Latest: Labor secretary defends Epstein plea deal
Labor Secretary Alex Acosta says his office acted appropriately when it came to the secret plea deal offered to Jeffrey Epstein a decade ago in a molestation case
3:05AM ( 16 minutes ago )
'It will not be easy': Dems prepare for their Mueller moment
Democrats prepare for Mueller questioning as the former special counsel has made clear he's a reluctant witness
2:53AM ( 29 minutes ago )
Diplomats shaken for now after Britain's US ambassador quits
Abrupt resignation of Britain's ambassador to the United States over leaked cables critical of the Trump administration is unlikely to have a lasting impact on the U.S.-British relationship or diplomatic practice
2:50AM ( 31 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Passenger train hits freight train in Pakistan, killing 10
A passenger train has rammed into a freight train in southern Pakistan killing at least 10 people and injuring 64 others
1:53AM ( 1 hour ago )
UK: Iranian vessels tried to block British vessel in Gulf
Britain says three Iranian vessels unsuccessfully tried to impede the passage of a British commercial vessel through the Strait of Hormuz
1:46AM ( 1 hour ago )
South Korea seeks US help in bitter trade spat with Japan
South Korea seeks US help in row with Japan over tightened controls on high-tech exports
12:29AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP World News
Asian shares advance after Fed signals US rate cut likely
Asian shares gain after Fed's Powell suggests US central bank may cut interest rates for 1st time in a decade
11:43PM ( 3 hours ago )
Seoul wants Washington to mediate in trade spat with Tokyo
South Korea is asking the United States to mediate in its bitter diplomatic row with Japan over Tokyo's moves to tighten controls on high-tech exports to its neighboring U.S. ally
11:34PM ( 3 hours ago )
Alaska Legislature fails to override vetoes that prompt cuts
The Alaska Legislature failed to override budget vetoes by Gov. Mike Dunleavy that will prompt a massive 41% cut of state funding to the University of Alaska and lay waste to other programs the governor deemed unaffordable
11:07PM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Business
The Latest: Labor secretary defends Epstein plea deal
Labor Secretary Alex Acosta says his office acted appropriately when it came to the secret plea deal offered to Jeffrey Epstein a decade ago in a molestation case
3:05AM ( 16 minutes ago )
'It will not be easy': Dems prepare for their Mueller moment
Democrats prepare for Mueller questioning as the former special counsel has made clear he's a reluctant witness
2:53AM ( 29 minutes ago )
Diplomats shaken for now after Britain's US ambassador quits
Abrupt resignation of Britain's ambassador to the United States over leaked cables critical of the Trump administration is unlikely to have a lasting impact on the U.S.-British relationship or diplomatic practice
2:50AM ( 31 minutes ago )
AP Exclusive: Officer accuses general of sexual misconduct
A senior military officer has accused the Air Force general tapped to be the next vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of sexual misconduct
2:38AM ( 43 minutes ago )
6 hospitalized after slow fifth bull run in Pamplona
Spanish authorities say one person has been gored in the arm during the fifth bull run of this year's San Fermin festival in the northern Spanish city of Pamplona
2:35AM ( 46 minutes ago )