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2002 News from Mecklenburg County
 

June 4, 2002

HEALTH DEPARTMENT EXPECTS FIRST WAVE OF
MONTAGNARD REFGUGEES TO ARRIVE JUNE 10

Charlotte, NC – Administrators with the Mecklenburg County Health Department’s Refugee Clinic say they expect the first of some 225 Montagnard refugees in just a matter of days. The refugees will come to the Health Department’s NorthPark location on June 10 after arriving in this country on June 5.

–Administrators with the Mecklenburg County Health Department’s Refugee Clinic say they expect the first of some 225 Montagnard refugees in just a matter of days. The refugees will come to the Health Department’s NorthPark location on June 10 after arriving in this country on June 5.

Upon their arrival, Health Department staff will conduct blood and urine screenings on these refugees, 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.

Dr. Stephen Keener, medical director for the Mecklenburg County Health Department, says these exams are an important step in the refugees’ assimilation into this country, since most have not had the benefit of modern medical care.

Overseas medical evaluations had pushed back the arrival of the expected 225 refugees who will eventually resettle here in Mecklenburg County. According to the federal government, about 800 Montagnard refugees will relocate to North Carolina.

The U.S. State Department, the Office of Refugee Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other federal government agencies first screen these 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.

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.



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