SAF delivers supplies to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh

A Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) team yesterday airlifted the first batch of humanitarian supplies to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.

The relief package - comprising tents, blankets, food, medical supplies and lamps - was delivered by a Republic of Singapore Air Force KC-135R transport aircraft to Chittagong airport. A second batch is slated to be delivered today.

The humanitarian aid, worth around $270,000, was donated by the Singapore Government and independent disaster relief organisation Mercy Relief.

Senior Minister of State for Defence and Foreign Affairs Maliki Osman, who went to Bangladesh with the SAF, witnessed the handing over of the supplies to Chittagong Divisional Commissioner Md Abdul Mannan by Senior Lieutenant-Colonel Lim Lit Lam from the SAF's Changi Regional Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Coordination Centre.

"Singapore offers our deepest condolences to all those affected by the humanitarian crisis in Rakhine state," Dr Maliki said.

"We are a small state; we do what we can to help."

Some 500,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar for Bangladesh since violence broke out in August. Singapore has said it stood ready to support efforts by Asean to provide humanitarian assistance.

Dr Maliki said the supplies delivered were based on feedback from the Bangladeshi government on the people's needs.

Mercy Relief has identified women as the most vulnerable group in overpopulated evacuation camps. Its team members will be distributing dignity kits for women that contain scarves, sanitary napkins and soap, as well as solar lamps and tents.

"With women and children making up a majority of those displaced... there is an urgent need to prioritise their safety," said Mercy Relief executive director Zhang Tingjun, who also travelled to Chittagong.

"By providing solar lamps, we can increase a sense of security for those sleeping out in the open... The tents can provide a private space for girls and nursing mothers... Addressing these needs can promote the overall well-being of those displaced."


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