Photo: Max Greenstein, RedR Australia

Rohingya crisis becomes RedR Australia’s largest ever response

As the monsoon season begins to show its impact across Cox’s Bazar, RedR Australia has increased its response to the Rohingya crisis, deploying the largest number of people to an emergency to date.

Through the Australia Assists program, RedR Australia has now deployed 22 technical experts to Bangladesh. RedR Australia has also stationed a new Country Manager and Program Advisor in Cox’s Bazar because of the ongoing seriousness of the situation.

With the onset of the wet season, only three days of monsoon rain in June has caused flooding across the main camp.

The already vulnerable population of the camp is facing the possibility of shelters, education and sanitation facilities being washed away due to the settlement being built upon land deemed unsuitable for habitation,

The overall situation in the settlement has also been described as a major protection crisis.

The new Bangladesh team will remain in Cox's Bazar for the next six months to assist in what has quickly become one of the most complex and fastest-growing crises in the region.

People in the camp attempt to stabilise the crossing and banks with sandbags after monsoon rains begin to show their effect. Photo: RedR Australia

New Bangladesh Country Manager, Melinda Spink, said although the humanitarian response had been effective so far, new in-country staff put RedR Australia in a good position to increase the quality of the overall response.

“We’re improving the quality of response in deployment, training, coordination and cross-communication. We want a more strategic approach through quality coordination,” Melinda said.

RedR Australia Program Advisor in Bangladesh, Anna Harvie, said the new team would not only be focusing on the delivery of the response, but on the health, wellbeing, and efficacy of deployees.

“We’ve now got people on the ground who are there for staff support, including pastoral care and ensuring program quality” Anna said.

In August 2017, an estimated 688,000 Rohingya people fled to Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh, escaping escalating violence in Rakhine State in Myanmar.

This added to an estimated 200,000 Rohingya already settled in the area, leaving approximately 900,000 displaced people inhabiting a space of just 12 square kilometres.

Since September 2017, RedR Australia have deployed specialists from a range of fields to assist in the emergency, including in coordination, shelter and engineering, logistics and protection.