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Bangladesh: Medair announces closure of its programme

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Lausanne, Switzerland, April 5, 2022 – After serving Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh for over four and a half years, Medair has announced the closure of its programme as of April 2022. Medair began the transfer of its nutrition projects in Kutupalong and Teknaf Refugee Camps to national and international partners at the end of 2021, and its remaining health projects in March 2022.

“We are immensely proud of the work that has been achieved since Medair arrived in 2017,” said Rachel Hirons, Medair’s Bangladesh Director. “This is in large part due to the incredible passion and dedication of our national staff and Rohingya Volunteers. We are also grateful to everyone who partnered with us either in-country or from afar, through financial support, fundraising and awareness-raising efforts, prayers, and encouragements.”

Medair first arrived in Bangladesh in September 2017, while hundreds of thousands of Rohingya were fleeing horrific violence targeting their community in Myanmar. Working in collaboration with its Integral Alliance partner World Concern, Medair initially deployed its Global Emergency Response Team to provide urgent assistance to refugees, distributing hundreds of hygiene and shelter kits. Overtime, Kutupalong Camp became the world’s largest refugee camp, with ever-increasing needs, leading Medair to extend its partnership with World Concern to health, nutrition, shelter and infrastructure projects, supporting between 80,000 and 100,000 refugees per year.

“Closing a programme is not an easy decision to make, especially when needs remain high,” noted David Verboom, Medair’s Chief Executive Officer. “But we are confident our work will be successfully carried on by humanitarian partners who have taken on our projects. Thanks to them, there will be no interruption of services to Rohingya refugees, and the vast majority of our staff who wish to will continue in their position. In light of this, we believe the time is right for Medair to go where it is currently needed most, in line with our mandate.”

Medair continues to serve some of the world’s most vulnerable communities in over a dozen countries and regularly deploys its Global Emergency Response Team to cater to sudden on-set emergencies, such as natural disasters or man-made crises.

“While there are so many emergencies happening around the world right now, we would urge the world not to forget the Rohingya, or their host communities, and to keep supporting the humanitarian response in Bangladesh,” adds Rachel Hirons. The Rohingya have told us repeatedly they long to return to their homes in peace and safety, with their rights fully recognized. For that to happen, they will need the continued support and attention of the international community.”

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