May 16, 2002
MONTAGNARD REFUGEE ARRIVAL DELAYED
Charlotte, NC – Overseas evaluations have pushed back the arrival of an expected 225 refugees who will eventually resettle in Mecklenburg County. The Mecklenburg County Health Department will conduct medical evaluations on these individuals once they arrive in North Carolina and Mecklenburg County.
Administrators with the Health Department’s Refugee Clinic say they anticipate only a one-week notice before receiving the first wave of Montagnard refugees. The first of those refugees was expected at the Mecklenburg County Health Department’s NorthPark location this week. That date has now been tentatively set for the first or second week of June.
The U.S. State Department, the Office of Refugee Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other federal government agencies will first screen the refugees overseas before they are allowed entry into the United States. According to the most recent figures from the U.S. State Department, 225 of the approximately 800 refugees will be relocated to Mecklenburg County.
Health Department staff will conduct blood and urine screenings on these individuals, including pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease (STD) tests and general health evaluations. If necessary, the Health Department will refer them to other sources for additional evaluation and treatment.
The Montagnards are aboriginal hill people of southern Vietnam. The Vietnam War destroyed many of their villages and one-third of their numbers. This population faces extinction from their government’s encroachment on the rain forests they call home and the continued backlash of their association with the U.S. during the Vietnam War.