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Aid groups warn of food shortage in western Myanmar

Apri 5 HRB

Aid groups have warned of a humanitarian crisis in western Myanmar, as thousands of people, mainly Muslims, are facing food and water shortage.

Humanitarian aid workers, who were forced to flee the region due to violence, warned on Monday that in the next two weeks, food stocks will run out and at least 20,000 displaced people living in camps will be without clean water in 10 days. Tens of thousands of displaced people, of whom mostly are stateless Rohingya Muslims, live in bleak camps in the troubled state of Rakhine.According to UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the displaced people are completely reliant on humanitarian deliveries, which have stopped as a result of the unprecedented attacks on relief organizations.

Unrest broke out in Rakhine last week, when hundreds of Buddhists gathered around the offices of Germany-based medical aid group Malteser International in Sittwe, claiming that an aid worker had handled a religious flag in a disrespectful manner.

They also claim the humanitarian workers in the region are biased in favor of local Muslims.Over 70 aid workers were provided with police protection. UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Myanmar Toily Kurbanov said he was "deeply concerned" by the violence.

Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar account for about five percent of the country's population of nearly 60 million. They have been persecuted and faced torture, neglect, and repression since the country's independence in 1948.Hundreds of Rohingyas are believed to have been killed and thousands displaced in attacks by Buddhist extremists.The Myanmar government has been repeatedly criticized by human rights groups for failing to protect the Rohingya Muslim community.

 

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