by Brad Stewart
Based on information received through our local sources, the DRG team mobilised to the southern most point in Teknaf Upaliza to provide assistance to Rohingya refugees who have made the journey to Bangladesh via the jetty at the remote and isolated town of Sharporir Dwip.
The refugees have been using the cover of darkness to escape Mayanmar and land on the jetty. A teenage girl was shot and killed yesterday while on a boat leaving the town of Maungdaw, and was buried today in Sharporir Dwip.
The town is isolated by tidal waters (although it’s still considered mainland) and our team used used a small boat to reach the area. We discovered the local Bangladesh population have been caring for Rohingya refugees and we were invited to setup our clinic in the Islamic Education Centre. Here we found most of our patients to be older men and women indicating that those too weak to travel north to the camps sought refuge in the town.
Patients of note were two very old men- one in heart failure with a fractured neck-of-femur and another with severe dehydration. Plenty of kids presented with the usual fevers, coughs and skin conditions.
Living conditions in the place were better than the larger camps, but unfortunately it’s only a temporary rest stop and for these people, the worst is yet to come. We
planned a difficult transport via stretcher, boat and road for the old man in heart failure however after he was stabilised he refused to leave preferring to live out his days in the Islamic Education Centre.
On our departure we met with the New York Times reporter from previous days and even managed a quick evening swim in the Bay of Bengal- probably our only “shower” for the day!
Tomorrow we plan to return to Thaingkhali Khal as we have been invited back and offered the use of a Rohingya teachers accomodation as a clinic. If the last two visits to this place are anything to go by, it’s going to be a busy day.