Thursday, 6 December 2012
Dire condition of Rohingya camps, need to improve: Valerie Amos
The United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos has described the conditions for thousands of displaced Rohingya IDPs camps in western Burma, are dire and called Burmese authority to improve the camp urgently on December 5.
The statement was released overnight after visiting violence-racked Arakan State –Myebon – where she stated that she was very concerned by the situation there, with many people in overcrowded, unsanitary camps.
“I was very concerned by some of what I saw today. They don’t have jobs, children are not in school and they can’t leave the camp because their movement is restricted. The situation is dire, tensions between the communities are still running very high.”
“People from both communities gave me the same message. They are living in fear and want to go back to living a normal life. There is an urgent need for reconciliation,” she added.
More than 135,000 people displaced during six months of ethnic conflict are living in camps in the state, the vast majority of them Rohingyas and Rohingyas are living in much worse conditions than Rakhine Buddhists, said BBC’s correspondent Jonah Fisher. But, NGOs staff said on the ground in Arakan State suggest that the number is actually much higher. Some suggest that it may be as high as 200,000.
“Camp on the peninsula of Myebon, exclusively for Rakhine Buddhists, had smart tents, working sanitation and a regular delivery of food and medical supplies, but, some 4,000 Rohingya Muslims live crammed together on a fetid pile of mud, surrounded by streams of water filled with sewage.”
“There are Burmese security guards on all sides to stop Rohingyas leaving the camp. Rakhine Buddhists control all the land around the Rohingya camp and bringing help for Rohingya, is almost impossible.”
The UN envoy urged Burma to boost support for aid agencies, citing security threats to humanitarian workers as a serious challenge facing the relief effort.
“The trust is not there. We need the political leaders in Burma to support the important humanitarian work being done by the United Nations and our partners.”
“Unfortunately we as the United Nations are not able to get in and do the range of work, we would like to do with those people, so the conditions are terrible.”
“UN efforts had been hampered by administrative and visa problems, as well as by a lack of funding.”
The UN said it had received around a third of the $68 million it needs to provide relief for those displaced over the next nine months.
800,000 Rohingya are seen as illegal immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh by the Burmese government and many Burmese. They have long been considered by the United Nations as one of the most persecuted religious and linguistic minorities on the planet who have lived Arakan for many generations and have no other home.
The UN’s refugee agency (UNHCR) says that there is a shortage of food, water and medical help at the already overcrowded camps in western Myanmar as a new wave of ethnic and sectarian violence has targeted Rohingya Muslims in the country.
“It is clearly urgent that law and order be restored to prevent further violence, and that access is facilitated so that aid can be provided to those in need,” the agency said in a statement.