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WFP, UNHCR, IOM, UNICEF and UNFPA Provide Assistance To People Affected By Cyclone Storm Mora in Bangladesh

BANGLADESH - The United Nations remains concerned about the safety and welfare of victims of Severe Cyclone Storm Mora, two days after it damaged homes and facilities across the southern part of Bangladesh.

Cyclone Mora made landfall on May 30, 2017 and left a trail of destruction in its path. Humanitarian workers from five United Nations agencies (UNHCR, IOM, WFP, UNICEF and UNFPA) were already on the ground and immediately began providing assistance to the people affected by the cyclone. According to UN estimates, over ten million people were living in the region exposed to wind speeds of some 120 km/h, and some districts near Cox’s Bazaar and Chittagong were hit with gusts that topped 130 km/h. Over 200,000 people have been displaced as a result of the cyclone. Casualties so far include six dead, 136 injured.

Cox’s Bazaar is home to a large Rohingya population seeking refuge in Bangladesh from neighbouring Myanmar. Some 300,000 Rohingya have been living in Bangladesh since the 1990s, 32,000 of whom are registered refugees. Since renewed fighting in Northern Rakhine in Myanmar in October 2016, an additional 76,000 Rohingya have arrived in the area, many living in precarious conditions in makeshift camps. 

The Government of Bangladesh assisted with the evacuation of over 300,000 people from the affected area, including Rohingya, as the cyclone approached. Rohingya communities, already vulnerable and marginalized, were particularly heavily hit. It is estimated that 60-70% of homes and infrastructure in five Rohingya camps were damaged, and people living there are now short of food, fuel and electricity. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that 20% of the shelters were completely levelled in Nayapara camp. Schools, clinics and administrative buildings were damaged, and families with special needs have been moved into temporary accommodation. 

United Nations agencies are on the ground and actively supporting the Government and civil society to restore services and provide emergency supplies to those affected. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is providing emergency hospital tents to the affected camps, and is aiming to provide waterproof plastic sheeting to affected families. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is providing shelter and emergency healthcare, and is supervising repairs to damaged health facilities and sanitation services (latrines). The World Food Programme (WFP) is providing emergency food rations and large quantities of dry biscuits until regular food supplies resume. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is supplying hygiene kits, water purification tablets, and recreation kits for affected refugee and migrant children. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) continues to provide high-quality medical care to pregnant women, new mothers and their newborn children in the camps. 

The UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh, Mr. Robert D. Watkins said, “I am relieved that damage was not more severe but there is a great urgency to respond quickly to the needs of the affected population especially to replace severely damaged rudimentary homes.”

Additional financial and material support is being sought by the UN as a more complete picture of the damage emerges. UN agencies are closely cooperating with Government, local and international partners to ensure a swift humanitarian response that will assist both Bangladeshi and Rohingya communities. 

For more information, contact:
Kazi Shahidur Rahman, Humanitarian Affairs Specialist (