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We struggle for food in relief camps: Assam refugees

Last updated on: July 27, 2012 15:57 IST

We struggle for food in relief camps: Assam refugees

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People rendered homeless due to clashes between Bodos and minority immigrants have alleged lack of sufficient food, drinking water and medicines in relief camps, a charge denied by authorities.

A two-year-old child and a 60-year-old man have also died in two relief camps in Bilasipara in Dhubri district, but the cause of death was yet to be ascertained, official sources said.

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Image: Villagers affected by ethnic riots and their children rest inside a relief camp at Bijni town in Assam
Photographs: Utpal Baruah/Reuters

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We struggle for food in relief camps: Assam refugees

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"The condition in most relief camps is pathetic with food and drinking water in short supply. We fear there will be more deaths in the days to come from disease," Bilasipara resident Monowar Hussain said.

Of the three lakh people who have fled their homes, 1,53,000 refugees have been housed in 118 camps in Dhubri district alone, with the allegation against the district administration being that only rice and pulses were provided and that too in insufficient quantity.

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Image: Villagers affected by ethnic riots rest inside a relief camp along with their children at Bijni town in Assam
Photographs: Utpal Baruah/Reuters

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We struggle for food in relief camps: Assam refugees

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A leading citizen of Dhubri Jahanuddin Ahmed said people collected money from vehicles on national highways to buy supplies for the refugees.

Another citizen Abdul Rashid alleged that there was shortage of medicines and there were very few doctors which was causing problems for those who were falling ill in camps.

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Image: Villagers affected by ethnic riots rest inside a relief camp with their children at Bijni in Assam
Photographs: Utpal Baruah/Reuters

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We struggle for food in relief camps: Assam refugees

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Dhubri Deputy Commissioner Kumud Kalita denied the allegations and said that sufficient food was being provided. "There is no shortage of medicine either. Doctors are working round-the-clock among refugees. Additional doctors are arriving from Guwahati to attend to them," Kalita said.

The refrain of among inmates in camps in worst-affected Kokrajhar and Chirang districts in the Bodoland Territorial Administered Districts was also the same.

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Image: A girl affected by ethnic riots is seen inside a relief camp near Bijni in Assam
Photographs: Utpal Baruah/Reuters

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We struggle for food in relief camps: Assam refugees

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"We don't want to stay in relief camps. We are human beings, we want to live in our homes and not like animals in relief camps where we have to struggle for food," said 60-year-old Gobind Narzary in Kokrajhar, urging the government to provide security so that they could return home.

"Most of the inmates are still traumatised over the events of the last week. We thought we will be safe and taken care of in camps, but are faced with several other problems," said 54-year Jhunu Boro who was yet to come to terms with the killing of four youths at her village Joypur in Kokrajhar.

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Image: Villagers affected by ethnic riots are seen inside a relief camp with their children near Bijni
Photographs: Utpal Baruah/Reuters

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We struggle for food in relief camps: Assam refugees

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"Houses have been razed to the ground, our fields have been damaged and our cattle killed. Now the condition in relief camps has made our lives unbearable," 42-year old Pramila Goyary of Gossaigaon said.

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, who visited Kokrajhar on Thursday to review the situation, has directed the administration to ensure that there was no shortage of food, drinking water and medicines for those in relief camps.


Image: Village women affected by the ethnic riots, cry after their houses were burnt during violence, at a relief camp at Goshaigaon in Assam
Photographs: Utpal Baruah/Reuters

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