Rats Occupying DC Camps Conditions as bad as refugee camps, city's health chief says By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff Posted Jan 10, 2012 3:48 AM CST 18 comments Comments A sign posted yesterday in the Occupy DC encampment in McPherson Square in Washington, DC. (Getty Images) (Newser) – Washington DC's health chief says the explosion in the rat population at the two Occupy camps in the city may force him to advise the federal government to close the camps. Mohammad Akhter says conditions in the McPherson Square and Freedom Plaza camps remind him of refugee camps he has visited in the Middle East and Africa. He has ordered a review of sanitation at the camps, where inspectors have seen rats nesting below the hay-stuffed pallets protesters are sleeping on. "Going down to these camps, it’s no different than refugee camps," Akhter tells the Washington Post. “People are living in very primitive conditions, and they’re doing it by choice. They are very brave and thoughtful people, but my concern is that they should also take care of themselves. When the weather goes bad suddenly we’re watching a tragedy unfold in the middle of Washington." The National Park Service will make the final decision on whether to evict protesters.