Hospital overwhelmed by Rohingya with lost limbs and bullet wounds

:: Dozens of Rohingya refugees are being treated in a Bangladesh hospital for bullet wounds and blast injuries suffered in their flight from persecution in Rakhine state in Myanmar.

Many have lost limbs and eyes in land mine explosions, and doctors at Chittagong Medical College Hospital, the largest government hospital in the southeast Bangladesh, are struggling to cope.

One of their patients, Yusuf Nobi, 32, a day laborer from Yazdina Para, lost both legs and both eyes in a land mine blast. “I don’t want to live anymore,” he said. “Please kill me.”

Yusuf’s wife Rajiv Begum, 26, is distraught. “Our family is in crisis,” she said. “We don’t know what to do.”

Her husband suffered his injuries when he stepped on a mine as the family crossed the border from Myanmar to Bangladesh.

“We were all crossing the border in a group,” Rajiv said. “There was my mother, two brothers, my husband, two of my sons and a daughter. We were about to reach the Bangladesh border. On the other side, we could see the people of Bangladesh.

“All of a sudden there was a big explosion. We got scattered and ran. A few minutes later, when we reached the Bangladesh border, I noticed that my husband was missing. My brothers went back and found him with a severe mine injury, he lost both his legs instantly.

“We put him into a bamboo basket and rushed to the local health center of Medicins Sans Frontieres. Later Yusuf was taken here by ambulance.”

Next to Yusuf’s bed is another refugee, Mohammad Hossain, who also lost his leg in a land mine blast. “While crossing the border, I stepped on one of the landmines planted by the Myanmar Army,” he said. “The explosion threw me around 10 feet up in the air. I lost consciousness when I hit the ground and later found myself in a local health complex inside Bangladesh.”

Hossain’s wife and children narrowly escaped. His wife now looks after the family and tends to her husband at the hospital.

Dr. Tanvir Ahmed, a duty doctor at the hospital, said he had never seen such a large number of patients injured by land mines and bullets.

“In the last two weeks alone, we have treated around 50 Rohingya Muslims, all of them with gunshot wounds and mine explosion injuries. Two of them lost both their legs, two lost both their eyes,” he said.

About 42 Rohingya refugees with serious injuries are being treated at the hospital, and most of them are at risk of losing at least one leg, he said.

“Our hospital is already over-burdened and we cannot accommodate more beds in the wards for new patients. Many of the patients are kept in the corridor and the hospital is trying its best to provide them with medicines and treatment.”

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