27th September 2017




Australian Humanitarians Prepare to Deploy to Bangladesh

A refugee camp planner, a construction engineer and a protection adviser will fly to Bangladesh to support the global humanitarian response to the Rohingya refugee crisis.

International humanitarian agency, RedR Australia, is preparing to send the experienced humanitarians to Cox’s Bazar from where they will support the relief effort for an estimated 430,000 people who have fled violence in Myanmar since August 25th.

Humanitarian engineers Robert Crigan and Nagendra Adhikari will be supporting the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the World Food Programme (WFP) respectively. 

Robert, from Castlemaine in Victoria, will be tasked with choosing appropriate sites for the construction of refugee camps and advising on the construction of shelters and other camp infrastructure.

Nagendra, from Sydney, will provide engineering advice to WFP on their construction activities. WFP constructs facilities to aid their food distribution.

Both engineers were previously involved in the design and construction of the Za’atari refugee in Jordan which was developed in response to the massive influx of Syrian refugees following the conflict in Syria. Upon completion, the camp was the third largest city in Jordan and, today, hosts 80,000 refugees. Nagendra also site planned Jordan’s Azraq refugee camp and coordinated its construction whilst on deployment for RedR Australia in 2012/13.

Sydney woman, Michelle Sanson, is a protection specialist who will deploy with the World Food Programme. It’s estimated that 80% of the new arrivals to Bangladesh are women and children including unaccompanied minors.

The World Food Programme is currently responding to the Rohingya refugee crisis as well as the extensive flooding in Bangladesh from monsoon rains. The floods have left a third of Bangladesh under water and affected eight million people with 1.5 million in need of food assistance.

Michelle will be advising WFP on distributing food in a safe and dignified way that ensures the most vulnerable, including pregnant and lactating women and children are protected.

Michelle will leave Sydney this Friday 29th September. Robert and Nagendra will deploy early next month.

RedR Australia is an international Standby Partner to 10 United Nations (UN) agencies. We train and deploy humanitarian experts as part of surge support to our UN partners during international crises.

“This is a large scale humanitarian crisis and RedR Australia’s experts are in high demand,” RedR Australia’s CEO Kirsten Sayers said today.

“The humanitarian needs are enormous. Around 430,000 people have been displaced in the space of a month. They have crossed a border and are now seeking food, shelter, water and health services. When people are displaced like this, life doesn’t stop. Pregnant women still need to give birth. They need shelter. Clean water and sanitation will need to be provided for the displaced along with food. Women, girls and other vulnerable groups will need to be protected,” she said.

“We deployed a shelter expert to work with the United Nations refugee agency in Myanmar’s Rakhine state last month and he has been supporting the construction of temporary shelters for those displaced by the conflict and flooding in September last year.”

“We know our people are well prepared as we recruit and train them but we also know that this crisis is challenging and they could be working up to 16 hours a day, seven days a week in the first phase of the emergency.”

“We are sending three extraordinary people; fly in fly out humanitarians who are specialist first responders in emergencies and the Australian Government is funding us to send them,” Ms Sayers said.

RedR Australia is a leading international emergency relief agency that provides surge support for United Nations agencies during natural disasters and conflict-induced crises. The agency currently has 17 experts in 13 countries responding to a range of emergencies including Hurricane Maria in Haiti, the cholera crisis in Yemen and the Syrian crisis.

RedR Australia is an Australian charity and receives funding from public donations and the Australian and UK Governments.

For further information or to interview Kirsten Sayers or our humanitarian experts, please contact                        Katrina Peach: 03 8341 2666 / 0414 684 664 or email