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Thousands of people have had their homes destroyed and many have fled due to the outbreak of violence in a number of Rakhine townships in Myanmar. Displaced are in urgent need of water, food, medical attention and shelter.
This past week has seen fresh outbreaks of communal violence in a number of Rakhine townships with Pauktaw, Mrauk-U, Minbya and Myebon being the worst affected. Estimates of the death toll over the past week differ widely. The government has had to revise its figure up from two to 112. Information on displacement obtained from the State government reveals 28,000 people have been displaced and nearly 5000 houses burned to the ground during last week’s violent clashes.
“Our own monitoring indicates that the available IDP number is a conservative estimate. There are still people arriving to the Sittwe area on boats and the number is growing. Many have not been allowed to land in Sittwe, but have instead been directed to a number of smaller islets. After travelling for several days, they are in urgent need of water, food and medical attention as well as shelter,” says Anders Bech Tharsgaard, Head of Myanmar Desk for the Danish Refugee Council.
This past week’s violence follows major troubles in June which directly affected more than 100,000 people. Prior to last week’s escalations of violence around 75,000 IDPs were still displaced in Rakhine.
“Needs are also pressing in the Myebon area where villages have been burned to the ground during the past week. Most IDPs are now located in camps while others have fled to the surrounding hills. Township authorities have provided some assistance, but food, NFIs and shelter remain major needs,” says Anders Bech Tharsgaard.
Building on DRC’s already established presence in the conflict area, DRC will engage in activities including emergency livelihood, distribution of non-food items and individual protection assistance to the most vulnerable individuals.
DRC’s activities in Rakhine are financed by own funds, Sida, ECHO and Danida.