Bangladesh Cyclone Wreaks Havoc in Rohingya Refugee Camps


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People carried their belongings as they made their way toward a safer area in the Cox’s Bazar district in Bangladesh, on Tuesday.

Credit
European Pressphoto Agency

NEW DELHI — A cyclone tore through parts of Bangladesh on Tuesday, destroying the homes of thousands of Rohingya refugees who had fled the violence in Myanmar over the last several years.

The authorities in the affected districts of Cox’s Bazar and Chittagong evacuated 450,000 people before Cyclone Mora, officials said. In the coastal border district of Cox’s Bazar, where a majority of the Rohingya in Bangladesh live, more than 17,000 houses were destroyed and more than 35,000 were damaged, said Mohammad Ali Hossain, the deputy commissioner in Cox’s Bazar.

Four people were killed in the Cox’s Bazar district, and 60 were injured. Officials in Chittagong said there were no casualties reported as of Tuesday afternoon.

“The storm was really frightening,” said Rasel Uddin, an official with the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics in Cox’s Bazar. “The winds were so strong, I watched a giant eucalyptus tree, dozens of feet tall, getting bent to the point where it was almost flat on the ground. It would straighten again, then the winds would blow it back to the point where it was flat again.”

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Bangladeshi villagers took refuge in a cyclone shelter on Monday after the authorities evacuated coastal villages.

Credit
Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya, the Muslim minority community from Buddhist-majority Myanmar, have fled to Bangladesh in recent years, where they live in both official and makeshift refugee camps. The numbers have swelled since 2012, and in October and November of last year about 65,000 more arrived after a crackdown by Myanmar’s army.

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