In Bangladesh, a United Nations delegation has visited Burmese refugee camps near the border with Burma to see the problems caused by the massive influx of refugees.
In Bangladesh, a United Nations delegation has visited Burmese refugee camps near the border with Burma to see the problems caused by the massive influx of refugees. The visit came in response to a call from the Bangladesh Government for international help in dealing with the refugees.
SYNOPSIS: There are now estimated to be more than 130,000 Burmese refugees sheltering in Bangladesh in makeshift camps like this one at Kutupalong, just five miles (8 kilometres) from the Burmese border. Many there are on the verge of starvation. The United Nations delegation, led by the Chief of the U.N. Development Project in Bangladesh, Mr. Bernard Zagorin, visited the camps last week (17 May) to see the conditions first hand. For the past few weeks refugees have been arriving at camps in Bangladesh at the rate of two or three thousand a day. U.N. officials were told by them of harsh treatment they said they received at the hands of the Burmese authorities and troops. Reports say many have had close relatives shot dead, houses looted, and mothers and daughters raped while their families were forced to watch. Most of the refugees have lived for generations in the rugged Arakan area of south-western Burma and they are reported to be the victims of an anti-Moslem purge.
The greatest dangers they face now are from disease. Cases of both cholera and dysentery have been diagnosed in the overcrowded refugee camps. Where possible the refugees have received medical attention as soon as they arrive at the camps. For Bangladesh the camps pose great problems. The government has told ambassador of western countries represented in Dacca that it is at the end of its financial tether and many refugees could die if relief from outside countries was not forthcoming.