PRESS RELEASE: Over Half A Million Rohingya At Risk As The Monsoons Begin

12th February 2018

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After battling an outbreak of Diphtheria, Samaritan’s Purse’s medical staff are preparing for the worst, as the Monsoon season approaches.

Since last August, more than 650,000 Rohingya have entered the country from neighbouring Myanmar. They are living in temporary accommodation with little access to proper healthcare and sanitation. Much of the population of the camps have been battling Diphtheria, but other epidemics could be around the corner.

The rainy season in Bangladesh lasts from March to June and regularly causes huge numbers of people to be forced from their homes. The country, which is almost entirely at sea-level, experiences flash-flooding and disease outbreaks on an annual basis. With more than half a million Rohingya camped in the country, a Cholera outbreak seems imminent.

Hiruy Teka, who heads up Samaritan’s Purse’s UK medical response, describes the dangers ahead.

“Cholera is potentially fatal and can develop quickly. In some cases, the symptoms develop within hours. It is a bacterial disease that’s caused by taking in contaminated food and water”.

Describing the Rohingya’s situation as “amongst the worst on Earth” Teka explains that the outbreak could be uncontrollable.

“You have a situation where a population greater than that of Glasgow has almost no access to water or latrines. Aid agencies, like Samaritan’s Purse, are doing all we can but the rainy season is getting closer”.

With many of the latrines being shallow dug, a monsoon could see the camps flooded with sewage along with mudslides.

The Samaritan’s Purse medical team are gearing up to deal with the response.

“We have an excellent and experienced medical team in the region” Teka explained. “Samaritan’s Purse has built extra wings on to a local Christian hospital and has been staffing a clinic in the camps”

“It looks like a Cholera epidemic is around the corner, so we are asking people around the world to support us where they can”.

Samaritan’s Purse aims to be in the region indefinitely and works tirelessly in Jesus’ name.

Franklin Graham, the President of Samaritan’s Purse, recently visited the camps where he pledged funds to help complete a state-of-the-art hospital facility.

“It’s going to be modern, up-to-date, first-class,” Graham said. “Bangladesh has about 160 million people. It’s one of the most densely populated areas of the world—about 32,000 people per square mile. This is a lighthouse, right here in the middle of this part of the world that is dark, a part of the world that’s seen a lot of tragedy.
“God’s got this hospital in the middle of all this, proclaiming His Name.”

You can support the work of Samaritan’s Purse by visiting


Notes to editors:
Samaritan’s Purse is an international disaster relief organisation led by Franklin Graham. Samaritan’s Purse works in more than 100 countries to provide aid to victims of war, disease, disaster, poverty, famine and persecution. Samaritan’s Purse has partnered with Memorial Christian Hospital in Bangladesh, assisting with the construction of two new wards which will be fully equipped with modern medical equipment.

Media Enquiries:
For further information, pictures, or to arrange interviews please contact
David Taylor
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