Rohingya refugees: Providing emergency aid

More than 600,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since August 25 from neighboring Myanmar. Our team is on the ground, providing emergency aid to Rohingya refugees who, having escaped, now live in utter destitution.

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Mobile van in Bangladesh providing emergency supplies to Rohingya refugees. 

“A very large proportion of these refugees are women and children,” explains Gilles Nouziès, Handicap International’s Asia Desk manager. “They live in appalling conditions. They had to flee their villages in minutes, leaving everything behind them, and under terrifying circumstances. Some have injuries and most are exhausted. When they arrive in Bangladesh, they need everything – food, shelter, drinking water, but also latrines and water points to maintain a normal standard of hygiene.”

“The humanitarian response is gathering momentum but a crisis on this scale is a huge challenge for humanitarian organizations. Although living conditions in the camps are still precarious, we have to deal with a life-threating emergency first – the need to provide access to drinking water, food, and health care. The diseases spread by poor hygiene and overcrowding can kill, particularly the youngest and the most vulnerable individuals. We’re dealing with people who are exhausted, malnourished, and in a state of shock. We need to take immediate action to avoid a disaster.”

Over the past two months, we have provided more than 1,000 rehabilitation sessions, 4,500 people have received emergency psychological support, and more than 7,000 extremely vulnerable people have been identified so we can make sure they receive appropriate care and treatment. Overall, we have supplied humanitarian assistance to nearly 20,000 of the most vulnerable individuals.


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Our Actions

MOBILE TEAMS

Handicap International has set up seven mobile teams. These teams of physical therapists, nurses, psychologists, protection managers, social workers, and children activity organizers visit refugee camps to identify the most vulnerable individuals–pregnant women, children older women, and people with disabilities–and make sure that they are referred to the services that fit their needs. We supply them with immediate rehabilitation or psychological assistance. In addition, we organize play activities for children traumatized or stressed by their experiences because play is vital for development and processing difficult information.

REHAB CENTER ON WHEELS

Our team runs a fully equipped mobile rehabilitation center for physical therapy sessions, taking measurements for prosthetics and orthotics, and transporting toys for children’s play sessions. The rehab center on wheels travels to remote areas of Bangladesh and allows our mobile team to support people who otherwise wouldn’t have access to aid.

WELCOME STATIONS

Our teams also set up four welcome stations in the country where we provide advice on hygiene, cholera prevention, the distribution of humanitarian assistant, supply to rehabilitation care, psychological support session, and basic medical care for less serious injures. These welcome stations are located in the new refugee camps and support 50 individuals each day on average. Additional welcome stations will be set up in the coming days.

Logistics platform

We’re currently assessing the possibility of setting up a logistics platform to facilitate the transport of humanitarian aid. This platform would be made available to all humanitarian organizations.

Approximately 100 HI staff members and 200 volunteer workers are currently providing assistance to Rohingya refugees.