World Bulletin / News Desk
Hundreds of thousands of people sheltering in squalid, overcrowded camps in India's northeast desperately need food, water and medicines after fleeingsome of the worst communal violence in a decade, officials and aid workers said on Monday.
At least 12 people, including four children, have died and thousands are sick with diseases such as diahorrea and malaria caused by poor conditions in government-run camps in Assam state, where up to 400,000 people have taken refuge.
"We are in a state of high alert," said Assam's Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma. "People in thecamps are suffering from diahorrea, dysentery, malaria and high fever. We are concerned about the condition of the babies and pregnant women."
Violence between Bodo tribespeople and Muslim settlers from neighbouring Bangladesh erupted on July 20 when unidentified men killed four Bodo youths. In retaliation, armed Bodos - which dominate Assam's Kokrajhar district - attacked Muslims, suspecting them of being behind the deaths.
The fighting has tested the ability of India's security forces to restore order in Assam, famed for its tea plantations and home to the constituency of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who visited the state inlate July to appeal for calm.
So far 61 people have died - some hacked to death with machetes, while dozens of villages have been razed to the ground, forcing both Bodos and Muslims to flee to schools and community centres which have been converted into relief camps.
Sarma said around 8,000 children under two-years-old are sick, while hundreds of others have tested positive for malaria. There are also around 4,000 pregnant women in the camps who need medical support, he added.
FEARFUL TO RETURN HOME
Aid workers described the camps as "suffocating" with livestock living alongside people, few toilets and little access to clean water. Many people sleep in the open and women have little privacy, forced to wait for dawn or dusk to find a place outside to defecate.
Authorities have been overwhelmed by the numbers of displaced -- camps designed to accommodate 400 people are brimming with five times that amount, said aid workers.
"The government is lost and they are somewhat overwhelmed by the number of people who are displaced. They came in hordes and while relief is being distributed, it is totally inadequate," saidMrinal Gohain, northeast manager for the charity ActionAid.
Authorities are encouraging some of the displaced to return home, saying that the situation is under control with police and army patrols, as well as a curfew in some areas.
But aid workers distributing relief in the camps say survivors are too scared to return, especially after reports that five more people were killed over the weekend.
"There is a serious safety issue. Despite what the government says, people are traumatised and fearful and unwilling to return," said Geeta Majumdar from the charity Catholic Relief Services.
"Given the conditions inside the camps and the lack of security and safety outside, we are extremely concerned. Health is a priority and we are worried about epidemics occurring with such unsanitary conditions in such cramped spaces."
While a total of 11 people – including eight Morsi supporters – were killed in the clashes outside the palace in late 2012, the trial only addresses the death of one reporter and two anti-Morsi protesters
Francis, marking the second Easter season of his pontificate, celebrated a Mass to an overflowing crowd of at least 150,000 in St. Peter's Square and beyond.
The bomb attack left five security guards dead as militants managed to take dozens of students and professors hostage after raiding the premises
U.S.-based Arab Daily News website reported that Jordanian special forces, with U.S. intelligence assistance, have deployed troops in Libya by helicopters as part of an operation to free the diplomat.
A number of militants were killed when an air strike hit their training camps in a remote mountainous region of southern Yemen on Sunday, the defence ministry said.
The restaurant, on the highway connecting Baghdad and Basra, was badly damaged by the twin blasts
Militants have killed 11 Algerian soldiers in an ambush during a patrol in mountains east of the capital Algiers
Russia's state-run Rossiya 24 news station said three of the dead were with the pro-Russian separatists who control Slaviansk, and the other two were from the group which attacked their checkpoint.
Turkey's Honorary Consul General to Bangladesh is a Bengali man inspired by Turkey's liberation war
The ill-fated bus was carrying some 55 to 60 passengers when it collided with a cargo truck apparently due to overspeeding
While overall support for the ANC remained largely unaffected by the Nkandla scandal, the poll said Zuma's personal approval ratings had slipped to 62 percent from 65 percent
Israeli policemen assaulted Palestinian worshippers and religious students at some of the gates as they were lining up to enter the holy site
Search and rescue intensifies amid families’ anger; parents accuse officials leading the operation of dishonesty and inaction
Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad launch air and ground assaults in a number of opposition-held areas
Security forces are currently combing the surrounding desert area around the checkpoint in search of the assailants who have fled the scene following the shootout
Israel dismisses Robert Serry's accusation of blocking him from ceremony in Jerusalem church as "micro-incident".