Sign in / Join

In Bangladesh, injured Rohingyas flock to hospitals

Ⓒ AFP – MUNIR UZ ZAMAN – | Rohingyas refugees treated in a Chittagong hospital on 7 September 2017 in Bangladesh

Mohammad Toha can not move: the Bangladeshi nurses had to tie the young Rohingya, who writhes in pain during his awakening phases, between two bites of morphine.

The 16-year-old boy was hit in the face when the Burmese military opened fire on the residents of his village near Maungdaw in northwestern Burma.

This poor region on the border with Bangladesh has been the epicenter of violence for two weeks.

“He took a bullet just above the eye and is seriously injured, suffering tremendously,” said his father, who stands next to him at Chittagong Public Hospital, the largest in southern Bangladesh.

It is here that the most seriously injured among the some 270,000 refugees who have fled from Burma are evacuated.

“He should be in intensive care”, not in a classical service, deplores a nurse. But his parents can not afford it.

At the hospital in Chittagong, the beds are no longer sufficient and some Rohingya refugees are installed on the ground.

Not far from him, Bashir Ullah was more lucky: his leg injury is less serious.

“They started firing in all directions as we ran away, I fell and took a bullet in the leg,” he said.

Ⓒ AFP – – | Rohingyas refugees treated in a Chittagong hospital on 7 September 2017 in Bangladesh

The Rohingyas flee before the vast operation of the Burmese army, launched after attacks in late August against police stations by rohingyas rebels.

The operation resulted in more than 430 deaths, mostly rohingyas “terrorists”, according to the Burmese authorities.

But the UN talks about the double and denounces the lack of access to the conflict zone.

“I was lucky I was hit by bullets but I did not lose much blood, otherwise I would have died well before I could find a place like this,” said Bashir Ullah.

Arriving a week ago, he assured that dozens of villagers were killed by Burmese army fire while trying to escape.

– ‘Many seriously injured’ –

Hossain Jahur, 22, said he was “beaten and tortured” by Burmese soldiers, who forced the residents of his village to sit on the ground during a raid in the middle of the night.

Ⓒ AFP – Gal ROMA – | Rohingyas Crisis

“I tried to escape, but a soldier threw me an explosive device on it. It mutilated my hand,” he accused, pointing to his bandaged hand.

Charges impossible to verify on the Burmese side, access to the conflict zone being limited by the army.

Despite his injury, Hossain Jahur marched to the border to escape. “The Burmese army wants to push the Rohingya to leave (…) for them, we are only dogs,” he said.

Bangladeshi police inspector Alauddin Ahmed said that of the 70 Rohingyas hospitalized here since the start of the crisis, the vast majority suffered from gunshot wounds.

“Two of them are dead here. Several are in serious condition,” he said. On Friday alone, three Rohingyas were admitted for gunshot wounds.

In addition to injuries, many people became sick by walking for days without enough water and food in the mud in the rain. Some were injured during the explosion of mines when crossing the border.

Kamal Uddin, a hospital surgeon, says there is a lack of means to treat patients injured by bullets.

“We are struggling to offer the best treatment to these victims. The fate of those who are seriously injured is uncertain,” he said.

Humanitarian organizations are also sounding the alarm for health needs.

Médecins sans frontières (MSF) mentions “violence-related injuries, severely infected wounds” among many refugees.

The NGO has announced the establishment of a second hospital ward in one of its two existing clinics in the Kutupalong area to cope with the increase in patients.

Terms of service