AID AGENCIES face a ''narrowing window'' to prepare Rohingya refugee camps in southern Bangladesh for floods in the approaching monsoon season, the aid coordinating group said last week.

More than  16,000  refugees,  many living in shacks clinging to steep, denuded hills, have been moved to safer areas, the Inter Sector Coordination Group said in its latest situation report on Thursday.

Bangladesh has allocated more than 500 additional acres [202 hectares] of land for housing people at risk of a landslide or flood, it said.

''Still, the lack of sufficient safe space for  at-risk refugees, and the lack of cyclone safe shelter, limits the possibilities for risk mitigation,'' the ISCG said.

Nearly 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh since last August toescape military crackdown in neighbouring Myanmar, the United Nations and rights group say.

Myanmar says it has been waging a legitimate counter-insurgency operation.

Most of the refugees now live in flimsy, bamboo-and-plastic structures perched on what were once forested hills.

An eight year old girl was killed in a landslide caused by pre-monsoon rains last Friday, the first of what aid agencies expect will be hundreds of casualties during the monsoon. [Agencies].


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