Rakhine State: IRC, aid agencies blocked from access to most vulnerable
120,000 displaced cut off as half a million Rohingya flee to Bangladesh
New York, NY, September 14, 2017 — The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is deeply concerned about the ongoing violence and displacement across Myanmar’s northern Rakhine State. Over 400,000 people have fled the violence since August 25 to Bangladesh, and the IRC expects the number of to reach 500,000 - half of the known Rohingyan population - by the end of the week. As the largest provider of health assistance in Rakhine state, the IRC is particularly concerned by the over 120,000 internally-displaced persons cut off from life-saving services, particularly in light of dire pre-existing conditions. An IRC analysis from late 2016 revealed that civilians in Rakhine’s camps are up to ten times more likely to contract deadly diseases like tuberculosis, and at far greater risk of sexual violence and child marriage, due to camp conditions. The IRC is ready to scale up its response in emergency health care, as well as the protection of women and girls, in Rakhine. The IRC is also monitoring the situation in Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh.
With up to fifty thousand new arrivals of Rohingya civilians a day in Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh, this represents a very severe humanitarian crisis. We call on all parties to the conflict, particularly the Government of Myanmar, to ensure the protection of civilians and allow for the immediate and unfettered delivery of humanitarian assistance. To date, no UN agencies or NGOs are able to access Northern Rakhine in spite of increasingly urgent need.
“Tenable and dignified solutions for some of the world’s most vulnerable people remain a distant prospect – only further endangering a democratic peace in Myanmar,” said IRC’s regional director for Asia Sanna Johnson. “More than ever, meeting humanitarian need for the Rohingya and the rest of Myanmar’s communities is an urgent and critical step to bringing an end to the world’s longest civil war.”
The IRC has been delivering assistance in Rakhine since 2014, serving both Rohingya and Rakhine communities with primary healthcare, food security and livelihoods, governance, protection and water and sanitation activities. During 2016, the IRC reached over 130,000 people in Rakhine. Across Rakhine, Northern Shan and Kachin, Kayin, Kayah, Mon, Chin state and the Southeast, the IRC has been responding to ongoing needs of Myanmar’s communities to help them survive, recover and gain control of their future.
The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and 28 offices across the U.S. helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future, and strengthen their communities. Learn more at www.rescue.org and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.