by Brad Stewart
Today we pushed south from Cox’s Bazar to the border region on information gained from our local support. We reached a border crossing point which we observed for a short time before being informed by local police that crossings from Myanmar had become sporadic and mostly at night in that location. The Rohingya are crossing at night in some areas to avoid harrassment from the Burmese soldiers as they escape. From here, we drove further south to Thaingkali Khal where we found a transient refugee camp with no medical facility in place. We were informed there was several very unwell people in the camp including two with gun shot wounds. The team rapidly setup a temporary clinic and got to work treating the most serious of the patients as they arrived.
Three patients, one carrying a gun shot wound, one with exacerbation of TB, and one old women who had not eaten in 25 days due to an esophageal complication, were transported to the Kutapalong MSF facility by DRG vehicle after being stabilised.
The majority of presentations were young children and older women. All young children presented with signs of malnourishment and dehydration, and about half had some form of painful skin condition from the wet squalid living conditions. Several female patients presented appearing to be affected by severe psychological trauma including sudden blindness, refusing to eat, refusing to talk, uncontrolled wailing and vacant stare.
We continued to run the clinic until the patients stopped arriving at 1645h; the team then packed up and vacated the camp, returning to Cox’s Bazar to shop for more medicines and supplies.
Tomorrow the team will move south again based on information gained this evening by support staff in Teknaf. It is likely that DRG will target these transient and neglected camps where people first gather after the border crossing before making their way to the larger camp at Kutapalong.