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Bull World Health Organ. 1988; 66(2): 237–247.
PMCID: PMC2491046

An analysis of mortality trends among refugee populations in Somalia, Sudan, and Thailand*


A review of mortality data from refugee camps in Thailand (1979-80), Somalia (1980-85), and Sudan (1984-85) indicates that crude mortality rates (CMRs) were up to 40 times higher than those for the non-refugee populations in the host countries. In eastern Sudan, approximately 5% of the population of eight camps died in the first 3 months of the emergency and daily CMRs as high as 14 per 10 000 were reported. These rates dropped to values comparable with those of the host country within 6 weeks in the Thai camps; however, in Somalia and Sudan this process took 12 months. Mortality rates among under-5-year olds in the early phases, which were as high as 32.6 per 10 000 per day, are six times greater than those in the world's least developed countries during non-emergency times. Among severely undernourished children in one camp in Sudan, the death rate reached 114 per 10 000 per day. Acute respiratory infections, diarrhoeal diseases, malaria, measles, and undernutrition were the causes of most reported deaths, the majority of which could have been prevented by adequate food rations, clean water, measles immunization, and an oral rehydration programme.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Glass RI, Cates W, Jr, Nieburg P, Davis C, Russbach R, Nothdurft H, Peel S, Turnbull R. Rapid assessment of health status and preventive-medicine needs of newly arrived Kampuchean refugees, Sa Kaeo, Thailand. Lancet. 1980 Apr 19;1(8173):868–872. [PubMed]
  • Shears P, Berry AM, Murphy R, Nabil MA. Epidemiological assessment of the health and nutrition of Ethiopian refugees in emergency camps in Sudan, 1985. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1987 Aug 1;295(6593):314–318. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Seaman JA. Relief work in a refugee camp for Bangladesh refugees in India. Lancet. 1972 Oct 21;2(7782):866–870. [PubMed]
  • Enterically transmitted non-A, non-B hepatitis--East Africa. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 1987 May 1;36(16):241–244. [PubMed]

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