People of Exodus

Myanmar Rohingya woman Gultaj Begum, 30, lies in bed at Sadar Hospital in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017. Begum was shot by Myanmar military, the bullet grazed her left eyelid. 

"I will be happy if my wounds are healed. I want to continue my studies and pursue my dream to be an educated person and a businessman," said Gura Mia, a 12-year-old Rohingya boy speaks to me as he rests on his musty mattress, stained with the discharge from his wounds at the Sadar Hospital in Cox's Bazar.

Mia was a victim of Myanmar’s military (Tatmadaw) violence. He escaped the clutches of the Tatmadaw in the wee hours of the morning as they torched his home and razed his village to the ground. As he made a run towards the Rakhine mountain range and headed for Bangladesh, he caught a stray bullet in his left wrist.

Myanmar Rohingya woman Senowara Begum, 22, lies in bed at Sadar Hospital in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017. Begum was shot 4 times by Myanmar military, 3 on her left leg and once on the right.

A Myanmar Rohingya woman, right, fans her child at Sadar Hospital in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017.

Sadar Hospital is about 90km away from the Naf river, the natural border between the two countries. It is 37km from the closest refugee camp, and is the only hospital ready to care for the swarming mass of almost 500,000 Rohingya refugees, a number that is growing everyday. Entering the hospital, Bangladeshi locals were lined up along overcrowded corridors – the back of their hands punctured with needles facilitating IV drips as concerned family members were fanning away at their sickly faces.

Myanmar Rohingya woman Dildar Begum, 30, looks out the window of Sadar Hospital in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017. Begum was stabbed in her head while her 18 months son was killed while she was breast feeding him. 

As I make my way to the first floor, the pungent smell of wounds, blood, sweat and piss punctures the air. The toilets aren’t functioning properly in the "Temporary Rohingya Surgery Unit". Forlorn faces of women and children greet me as I walk the corridors brimming with refugees who have suffered injuries from fire, gunshots, landmines and violence.


The medical personnel do their best to help the injured Rohingyas with limited resources available to them. A man with shattered legs caused by a landmine has his bandaged shins held in place by plastic water containers. The containers are filled with water and used as a counter-weight to ensure his legs remain straight and can heal properly.


Unable to house the influx of Rohingyas who poured in for treatment, the corridors of the temporary unit are filled with the sick and injured; children, women, men and the elderly.

Myanmar Rohingya boy Gura Mia, 12, holds up his left hand with a bullet wound as he poses for a photograph at Sadar Hospital in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017. Mia was shot by Myanmar military as he was escaping them. 

Myanmar Rohingya man Mohd Hussein, 75, lies in bed at Sadar Hospital in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017. Hussein stepped on a landline as he was crossing the Myanmar-Bangladesh border, he may never walk again. 

The glistening evening sun pokes through one of the hospital windows. A streak of light fall barely illuminates the face of a Rohingya woman, Dildar Begum, 30, as her frail eyes are fixed on a distant spot, as if searching for solace or reliving the nightmare which had brought her to the hospital. She was stabbed in the head by the Tatmadaw while they pillaged through her village. She was nursing her 18-month-old son, he was viciously snatched away and hacked to death by men with machetes. She watched helplessly as her husband and four-year-old son suffered the same fate. Her 10-year-old daughter, Nur Kalima, witnessed the horrors with her mother. Nur Kalima herself was stabbed five times in the head. They were lucky to be alive as the soldiers thought they were dead when they were actually just unconscious.

A Myanmar Rohingya man lies in bed at Sadar Hospital in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017. 

Myanmar Rohingya child Noor Fatema, 6, lies in bed at Sadar Hospital in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017. Fatema was badly burnt when Myanmar military set ablaze her family's home.

In this multiple exposure photo, Myanmar Rohingya man Imam Hussein, 45, lies in bed at Sadar Hospital in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017. Hussein was shot by Myanmar military in his village. He does not want to go back unless there is peace. 

A x-ray film shows a bullet lodged inside Myanmar Rohingya man Imam Hussein's knee at Sadar Hospital in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017. Hussein was shot by Myanmar military in his village. He does not want to go back unless there is peace.

Myanmar Rohingya refugees accompanies their family members at Sadar Hospital in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017. 

As I am about to leave the hospital, I glance upon a scene of hope amidst pain and despair. Three Rohingya women are on their mobile phone speaking to a family member or friend. As they spoke, they looked out the window yearningly, unfazed by the rays of the Bangladeshi sunlight on their faces.

All I wish for is some light at the end of the tunnel for them.

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