Cox’s Bazar, July 18 (UNB) — International Organization for Migration (IOM) has been teaching locals communities and Rohingya people to be prepared for natural and man-made disasters.
Liba Akter, a Bangladeshi woman witnesses several disasters and death in the area. She saw a boy who was swept by flood water last year.
Since then, Liba was active in programs organized by IOM aimed at teaching local communities and Rohingya people disaster-risk-reduction skills and mobilizing people to spread the word.
“Severe winds and rains come out of nowhere and destroy homes and kill people. We can’t change the weather, but we can be prepared,” she explained.
In 2018 IOM specialists began training groups of 18-20 people – teaching them official warning signals and flags indicating approaching cyclones and tropical storms. Participants also learned how to identify and maintain emergency shelters, and how to avoid the waterborne illnesses that follow disasters.
Last week, as heavy monsoon rains again struck Cox’s Bazar, 200 people took part in the latest training. Since March 2018, a total 13,446 local people from Ukhiya and Teknaf attended disaster risks sessions.
“Human traffickers take advantage of disasters. Disasters cause hardship and make people vulnerable, which allow traffickers prey on them,” said IOM disaster risk reduction specialist Mohammed Ahsan Ullah.
He further said that Cox’s Bazar district faces numerous socio-economic challenges, and this makes residents particularly vulnerable to human traffickers posing as brokers.
When victims arrive in the destination, their passports are often confiscated, and they are held in prison-like conditions. Men can be forced to work long hours on construction sites for little or no pay, and women may be sent into forced abuse and sexual exploitation, he added.