COX’S BAZAR, Bangladesh — A hospital near Bangladesh’s southeastern border has become overcrowded with dozens of Rohingya refugees who arrived with bullet wounds and broken bones after fleeing violence in western Myanmar.
By Monday, doctors were able to treat and release three men and a teenage boy, who with nowhere to go ended up squatting behind Cox’s Bazar Sadar Hospital. They carried little with them aside from a few bed sheets and plastic bags holding personal documents.
They had arrived at the hospital with 27 others – all of them “distressed and afraid” and telling stories about soldiers opening fire randomly on their villages in western Myanmar on Aug. 26-27, according to the resident medical officer Dr. Shaheen Abdur Rahman Choudhury.
The hospital, already “hugely overburdened,” was expecting to receive more wounded refugees in coming days. “What we are seeing is the tip of the iceberg,” Choudhury said.
Meanwhile, ethnic Rohingya Muslims were still streaming across the swampy border on Monday, and had already filled the three existing refugee camps to capacity, according to the U.N. refugee agency.
So far, the UNHCR has counted some 73,000 new refugees in Bangladesh since violence erupted on Aug. 25 in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state, spokeswoman Vivian Tan said.
Many of their needs including food and shelter were being provided by Rohingya who fled persecution in Myanmar years ago. But Tan said UNHCR field officers had yet to gain access to border areas and so had not yet fully assessed the situation.
“We have heard reports of people cordoned off in the area. We have also heard reports that at some border points, controls have been relaxed,” Tan said.
Story: Muneeza Naqvi