What's the likelihood of this being an even greater crisis for the Rohingya people than it already is?
The Monsoon's going to hit. It's coming. We're not going to stop it. So the focus is on working to prepare for it. There are some people that might have some physical or mental impairments, or they're elderly, or children. So it's thinking about the whole community and not just the ones who can easily run and get away, and trying to make sure that they're also safe.
But as well as working on preparing for the monsoon and possible cyclone, the other real area of threat is disease. We know we're in a cholera endemic area. We know we're in a diphtheria endemic area. And there's a whole host of other potential things, which might come.
Can you give me a picture of what people were feeling about all this when you met them?
I think people are just relieved to be out of the situation that they had before. They're not really thinking very far ahead into what's going to happen next. Even if it rains, they say ‘what's water going to do to us compared to what we faced at home?’
So despite threats of monsoons and landslides they’re not keen to go home now?
No, that's not going to move them. That's just the weather... compared to what they’ve faced already.
What's being done to alert people of these threats and what’s being done to mitigate the effects?
There's a plan – and our partners are a part of it. It’s called the Shelter and Non-food Item Sector Coordination. What they're trying to do is to map where the risks are most likely to be felt by people. We know where flood risk areas are, but it’s harder to know where the landslides will be. But where slopes are 35 degrees or greater, there's a likelihood of landslides.
The other major thing is people's own shelters. Our partners our trying to give people more materials to make their structures more substantial. Some of that involves distributing thicker and stronger bamboos. Some of it is more rope and ways to connect and secure the ropes into the ground. Other areas include improving drainage by trying to put in some brick or cemented drainage tunnels.
How can Tearfund supporters respond to this?
I think the Rohingya people are crying out for hope. It can't just be this. There must be more.
Pray that we are able to get good processes in place when the monsoons and a potential cyclone come. People are going to lose shelters in the monsoons, but if they can lose them in such a way that they don't physically get hurt themselves, and we're able to help them rebuild afterwards, I think it's going to be the key.
Pray for our partners and for Tearfund staff. The coordination of all of this is hugely complex, with the UN structure, the NGO structures, the government structures. Pray for good communication between them.