Direct Relief Commits $250,000 in Funds to Assist Rohingya Refugees, Makes Full Medical Inventory Available for Relief Efforts

A volunteer carries a Direct Relief Emergency Medical Backpack outside of Hope Hospital in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Direct Relief is supporting the hospital with medical aid as they work to establish field hospitals throughout the Rohingya settlements. (Photo by Rajib Dhar for Direct Relief)

In response to the Rohingya refugee crisis and in advance of the upcoming monsoon season, Direct Relief committed an initial $250,000 in cash Friday and made available its full inventory of medical resources to support the provision of quality health care in Rohingya settlements.

The Rohingya refugee situation is among the world’s most urgent humanitarian crises. With more than 800,000 individuals living in densely populated camps and packed in makeshift shelters with minimal infrastructure, the risks to human health and safety abound. Outbreaks of diphtheria and measles have already occurred in the camps, and concerns are mounting from upcoming rains and the potential for cholera and other water-borne disease that follow.

“Direct Relief is deeply concerned about the unfolding crisis surrounding the Rohingya people in Bangladesh and understands from experience how the massive and rapid influx of people into a densely populated area can rapidly escalate into a massive humanitarian crisis,” said Direct Relief President and CEO Thomas Tighe. “As always, the priority is to support local partners who live and work in Cox’s Bazar and have the established systems to best care for the influx of people.”

Since the refugee crisis began, Direct Relief has sent $2.7 million in requested medical supplies to health providers in Bangladesh. Recipients of medical assistance include Hope Hospital and other providers in Cox’s Bazar.

Rohingya refugees walk unpaved streets in the Madhuchara camp on January 18, 2018 in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Direct Relief is shipping medical aid in advance of the monsoon season, which begins in April and is raising concern about health risks like cholera. (Photo by Rajib Dhar for Direct Relief)

Among the supplies delivered to date are 18 field clinic tents, solar panels and battery systems to provide power and lighting within healthcare clinics and delivery rooms, diagnostic equipment, water purification systems, personal protective gear for medical staff, wound care materials, hygiene items and oral rehydration salts.

Additionally, Direct Relief is prepositioning emergency medical supplies in advance of monsoon season and has already delivered an Emergency Health Kit comprised of the medical materials needed to care for 1,000 patients in low-resource settings, in accordance with World Health Organization guidelines.