• Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Medical crisis unfolds for Rohingyas

BBC Online

Clashes between Muslims and Buddhists in Myanmar may have subsided, but there is a new crisis brewing in the camps housing Muslim Rohingya. Some readers may find details of this report by the BBC's Jonah Fisher disturbing.
Arriving by boat near Kyein Nyi Pyin camp, there's no obvious sign that something is wrong.
It's nearly three years since the 4,000 Rohingya Muslims of Kyein Nyi Pyin were driven off their land by gangs of Rakhine Buddhists, and the camp now has a permanent feel.
There are no fences around the settlement and just a couple of sleepy policemen at the checkpoint on the way in. But the Rohingya are not free to leave. All the surrounding land is occupied by Rakhine Buddhists, many of whom drove the Rohingya from their villages back in 2011. Despite promises from central government, nothing has been done to reconcile divided communities.
A new crisis is unfolding in the Rohingya camps. Pregnant women, sick children, elderly men and women are suffering and sometimes dying because they don't have access to medicine and basic healthcare.
The elders at Kyein Nyi Pyin tell me that in the last month nine people have died there, seven of them young children. None of them had seen a doctor or gone to hospital.
The international aid agency MSF-Holland used to provide healthcare at the camp and at many of the Rohingya communities across Rakhine state. That's not an option any more. After a sustained campaign by Rakhine Buddhists against anyone seen as helping the Rohingya, the aid operation has been crippled.
The Burmese government has attempted to fill the gap left by the aid agencies, but it is too little to fill the demand.  Tragically even when government healthcare is available, many of the Rohingya refuse to accept it.
"I want to be treated," a 20-year-old mother called Arabana told me. "But I'm scared that if I'm taken to hospital the Buddhists will attack me."

 

 

Published: 12:00 am Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Last modified: 12:37 am Wednesday, June 04, 2014

TAGS: Myanmar Rohingya Muslims Muslims and Buddhists Kyein Nyi Pyin Rohingya camps. Pregnant women sick children

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