Food shortages loom as aid workers flee west Myanmar
April 01, 2014 00:00
SITTWE, Myanmar - Thousands of vulnerable people in strife-torn western Myanmar are close to running out of food and clean water, according to aid groups forced to flee the region after a wave of mob violence.
Many displaced people -- mostly stateless Rohingya Muslims -- living in bleak camps in Rakhine State are completely reliant on humanitarian deliveries, which have now stopped as a result of the unprecedented attacks on relief organisations.
"We are very concerned about the impact that this is having on humanitarian operations," said Pierre Peron, spokesman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
"We are working day and night to find short term solutions to prevent people running out of food and water."
He said water stocks for roughly 18,000 people in two isolated camps in the township of Pauktaw were "critical", but added that efforts were being made to equip government boats to deliver fresh supplies.
Health services, particularly emergency medical referrals, have been "severely impacted", he said.
Aid group Doctors Without Borders (MSF) was expelled from Rakhine last month - a move that particularly affected Myanmar's 800,000 Rohingya who are subject to harsh restrictions by the state which views them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.