The struggle to survive is becoming more difficult for hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees. As they pour across the Myanmar border into Bangladesh, they are facing a host of problems, with heat, lack of supplies and overcrowding all contributing to a rise in disease.
CGTN’s Barnaby Lo reports.
Sonowara Begum was crying in pain when we met her at a hospital in Bangladesh’s coastal city of Cox’s Bazar. A Rohingya, she had fled Myanmar two weeks ago, but she was not able to escape the bullets from Myanmar’s armed forces.
Doctors have taken out a bullet in one part of her foot, but there’s still another lodged in her left thigh.
“We were fleeing from our homes because the army was burning them,” Sonowara’s husband Mohammad Salim said. “When we got on boats, soldiers fired at us. Some people died, some survived.”
Cases like hers aren’t isolated. Although already operating beyond its capacity, the hospital treating Sonowara dedicated a ward for wounded Rohingyas.
Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslim are facing a dire situation in Bangladesh. Food and water shortages are worsening, so humanitarian groups are seeking $434 million in additional humanitarian assistance.
The Myanmar government and army say they’ve only been targeting Rohingya rebels. But hospitals in Bangladesh teem with Rohingya refugees: civilians, women, and children who say they’re victims of the Myanmar army.
Just two beds away from Sonowara, 70-year-old Mahmoud Hussein was also hurting. He arrived in Bangladesh six weeks ago, but got his burns treated just two weeks ago.
“We’re not rebels. We’re peaceful people. We’re victims of the Myanmar army,” according to Hussein.
Innocent children like six-year old Nur Fatima are among the victims.
“The army burned our house, that’s how she got those wounds,” her father said, referring to the burns on her body.
Tragedies like these are not uncommon among the Rohingya people.