BURMA/MYANMAR: UN calls for investigation as tension hightens for displaced
(WNN) UNITED NATIONS: As the humanitarian crisis increases in the northern Rakhine State of Burma/Myanmar due to religious violence between Buddhists and Muslims in the region, Mr. Vijay Nambiar, Special Advisor for the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, has called for an investigation into the most recent outbreak of violence. Reports have outlined that recently 12+ people have died in the violence as hundreds of homes have been destroyed.
An estimated 48,000 people have become displaced as violence “remains tense” in the region outlined the UNHCR – Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees on Tuesday.
Monitoring the need for food in the region the WFP – World Food Programme is also gearing up to get 3 months of food assistance to those in need.
The Myanmar government has now requested more aid for medical needs, food and shelter for those in the regions of Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Sittwe. WFP has been bringing food to these areas but has been meeting obstacles in reaching villages blocked by what has been conveyed as poor road conditions.
“At this stage, WFP estimates there are about 90,000 displaced people in need of assistance as a result of the recent clashes – WFP is currently finalizing plans for a three-month food assistance operation that will require additional support from donors,” said the World Food Programme, now trying to raise monies to pay for heightened aid operations in the region.
“The destruction of property appears to be widespread,” says Adrian Edwards who is a spokesperson for the UNHCR. “Myanmar authorities indicate that as many as 1,600 houses may have been destroyed in the riots,” continued Edwards.
According to humanitarian organization Human Rights Watch, approximately 75,000 men, women and children have fled the region of Burma since June 2011. Many of these have tried to flee into China. Others have tried to reach Bangladesh.
Kachin women have been particularly impacted by the conflict in the region.
“Soldiers would come and take the women and bring them from tent to tent. We were so afraid and we couldn’t watch the whole night. The next morning, the women couldn’t walk right. They seemed like they were in pain. They walked hunched over. And they were crying,” said M. Seng, a 23-year-old porter who worked on the front region of the conflic for 19 days and talked to Human Rights Watch in November.
On Monday seven boats of the displaced attempted to land in Bangladesh from Myanmar totaling 128 people. Staying close on their policy of closed borders, the government in Bangladesh turned away 138 people on Monday who tried to enter the country.
“What is also worrying is that in the days ahead, those fleeing the situation in Myanmar or being pushed back will also face increasingly hazardous and rough seas, with swell heights reaching three to four meters in the northern part of the Bay of Bengal,” outlined Edwards today in a press briefing on the situation (Friday June, 22, 2010).
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