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South Central Asia floods make thousands homeless

Rohingya refugees look at flood water, and inundated shelters are seen following heavy rains at the Rohingya refugee camp in Kutupalong, Bangladesh, Wednesday, July 28.

Days of heavy rainfall have pelted Rohingya refugee camps in southern Bangladesh, destroying dwellings and sending thousands of people to live with extended family or in communal shelters.

In the 24 hours until Wednesday afternoon, more than 30 centimeters of rain fell on the camps in Cox’s Bazar district hosting more than 800,000 Rohingya, the U.N. refugee agency said. That’s nearly half the average July rainfall in one day while more heavy downpours are expected in the next few days and the monsoon season stretches over the next three months.

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“The situation is further compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic. There is currently a strict national lockdown in response to rising cases across the country,” the agency said.

The agency said it was saddened by the deaths of six people at the camps earlier this week, five in a landslide caused by the rains and a child swept away by floodwaters.

Citing initial reports, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said more than 12,000 refugees were affected by the heavy rainfall while an estimated 2,500 shelters have been damaged or destroyed. More than 5,000 refugees have temporarily been relocated to other family member’s shelters or communal facilities, the agency said in a statement. (AP)

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