The Financial Express

Urgent support needed as thousands lose livelihoods in Cox’s Bazar, IOM says

| Updated: August 04, 2021 21:04:12

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The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is concerned about over 80,000 members of the community in Ukhiya and Teknaf sub-districts in Cox’s Bazar who have lost their income and possessions to the devastating floods that have been sweeping the city since 27 July. 

Close to 2,500 vegetable gardens have been partially or fully damaged, and 140 trees have been knocked down, raising concerns about soil erosion and further landslides caused by what residents describe as the heaviest rainfall in more than ten years, said IOM on Wednesday.

“The COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing lockdown have already left millions of people across the country unemployed and struggling to make ends meet,” said Manuel Marques Pereira, IOM Deputy Chief of Mission in Bangladesh. 

“Many had managed to recover through different livelihood opportunities offered by the humanitarian community but are now forced to start again from zero,” continued the IOM official.

The rapid urbanization of both Teknaf and Ukhiya sub-districts may have led to the obstruction of the natural drainage system, causing rainwater to accumulate rapidly leading to flash floods.

IOM has been supporting local Cyclone Preparedness Programme volunteers to disseminate early warning messages on landslides and evacuation since the monsoon rains began, reaching over 175,000 people living in 244 vulnerable areas across Cox’s Bazar District. 

The local administration quickly opened the cyclone shelters where thousands of displaced families have since taken refuge. They are currently being assisted with relief items, protection and medical support.

IOM’s livelihoods programme provides host community members with different types of income-generating activities. Since 2017, close to 11,000 host community members have accessed livelihood opportunities, and more than 6,000 Rohingya refugees have received self-reliance services.

Many community members have now lost all their livelihoods and assets, including livestock, fisheries and crops in the floods and require immediate recovery support. 

IOM assessment teams conducted an emergency needs assessment in Teknaf to better understand the immediate and midterm impact of the floods on the lives and livelihoods of host communities.

The assessment highlighted the immediate need to rebuild damaged houses, latrines, bathing sheds and roads in the affected villages, and the need for multipurpose cash grants to recover people’s belongings.

Urgent support is required to help host community members affected by the floods, as well as for the refugees currently residing in camps in Cox’s Bazar. Download the IOM Bangladesh 2021 Appeal here.

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