CHITTAGONG, Bangladesh – Over flowing with patients, many of them lying on thin, dirty mattresses on the floor, the Chittagong Hospital in Bangladesh is at breaking point.
The facility acts as the main trauma center — and the main lifeline — for Rohingya who have been injured fleeing violence in Myanmar.
Of the more than 100 Rohingya refugees that have been admitted, most of them have sustained injuries from gunshots, landmines or other explosions, the hospital director Brigadier General Muhammed Jalal Uddin tells CNN.
Teenager Umme Salma, who was admitted to hospital with a gunshot wound, sits up in bed with the aid of nurses.
A 13-year-old Rohingya girl, Umme Salma, arrived at the hospital on September 6 with a gunshot wound.
“The army fire bombed my house, then shot at me when I was trying to run away,” she told CNN. “My mother is also here, she got shot three times. We came here by walking through the hills. My brother brought us to the hospital.”
More than 380,000 Rohingya — many of them young women and children — have fled to Bangladesh to escape violence since August 25, according to the United Nations, an average of almost 20,000 a day.
The predominantly Buddhist Myanmar has denied Rohingya residents the rights of citizenship, considering them to be Bangladeshi, but Bangladesh likewise denies them civil and political rights, saying they’re Burmese. As a result, they’re effectively stateless.
“I want to return to Myanmar, I want to go to school. But only when it’s safe,” she adds.
The Myanmar government says 176 out of 471 of all Rohingya villages are now empty of people, and an additional 34 villages were “partially abandoned.”
Conditions at the Chittagong Hospital are strained to capacity due to the steady new influx of refugee patients.
Zaw Htay, a spokesman for Myanmar’s Presidential Office, said the reason people abandoned their homes was because many were told to leave by family members who were involved in terrorist activities.
According to 2014 census, Myanmar’s Rohingya were estimated to number about 1 million, with the majority clustered in small often isolated villages in the northern part of Rakhine State along the border with Bangladesh and India. – CNN