News / Vancouver

Nurse returning from Bangladesh highlights 'resilience' of Rohingya refugees

Mose Li says he hopes fellow Canadians will recognize Rohingya families are stuck in a precarious place in Bangladesh, as they can’t return home.

Moses Li, an emergency nurse at St. Paul's hospital, volunteered in Bangladesh to help Rohingya refugees.

Jennifer Gauthier / For Metro

Moses Li, an emergency nurse at St. Paul's hospital, volunteered in Bangladesh to help Rohingya refugees.

Vancouver nurse Moses Li is used to seeing pain and suffering but was still surprised to find resilience amongst the chaos during his recent trip to a Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh.

Violence has forced more than half a million people in Myanmar’s Rakhine State to flee across the border to Bangladesh since August, 2017, according to UNICEF. The UN has described the persecution of Myanmar's Muslim minority as "a textbook example of ethnic cleansing."

Last month, 30-year old Li travelled to Malumghat, Bangladesh, where several charities have set up hospitals to help those refugees at a camp that was a one-hour drive away.

“About half of the patients we saw were children,” said Li, who spent three weeks volunteering at a surgical centre set up by Samaritan's Purse, a Christian charity.

The camps were incredibly crowded and shelters were little more than huts made out of tin and mud, he told Metro.

Sadly, broken bones and gunshot wounds were the most common injuries, he said.

Moses Li is back in Vancouver's St. Paul's hospital after he volunteered in Bangladesh at a hospital set up for Rohingyan refugees.

Jennifer Gauthier/Metro

Moses Li is back in Vancouver's St. Paul's hospital after he volunteered in Bangladesh at a hospital set up for Rohingyan refugees.

Li says one particular toddler, who came to the hospital with a broken leg that had been left untreated, showed reminded him how resilient people can be in the face of hardship.

“There was a two-year old girl who was hit by a car in the refugee camp. The bone break got very infected and when she first came to us she was very, very sick.”

After surgery and a month of treatment at the hospital, she was back on her feet, said Li.

“She left an impression on everybody, despite all the painful procedures that had to be done to her...she would still smile at you when you walked by,” he said.

“It highlighted the resilience that people have amongst this group of Rohingya people.” 

Li, who is now back in Vancouver, working 12-hour shifts at St. Paul’s emergency room, says he hopes fellow Canadians will recognize Rohingya families are stuck in a precarious place in Bangladesh, as they can’t return home.    

The UN calls it the worse humanitarian crisis in the world today.

“We’re called on to love our neighbour, as ourselves,” said Li, a devote Christian.

“People are suffering and to know that I have an opportunity based on what I’m trained to do … to help people who are vulnerable and in need of help, is my biggest motivation.” 

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