November 05, 2012
Refugee advocates say that around 300 asylum seekers are now participating in a hunger strike on Nauru.
If accurate, the number represents around three quarters of the facilities detainee population.
It is understood that at least 10 people have received medical treatment, after suffering from what the Australian Immigration Department has called ‘heat exhaustion.’ Refugee groups say up to 30 people have collapsed in the past 24 hours, but that number cannot be independently verified.
The Immigration Department has accused advocacy groups of exaggerating the number of protesters and the severity of the medical problems they’re encountering. A department spokesman has told Pacific Beat that all detainees, including those on hunger strike, have ready access to food, water and medical care, and that the situation is being carefully monitored.
The Salvation Army has been tasked with observing detainees who may be showing signs of distress or mental health issues and referring them to the official health provider, International Health and Medical Services.
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