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90,000 displaced people in Rakhine State: WFP

The World Food Programme (WFP) has expanded distributions of emergency food supplies to thousands of people displaced by inter-communal violence in Burma’s western Rakhine State. The WFP will scale up operations further in the coming days, it said in a press statement on Tuesday.

Official WFP logoAt this stage, WFP estimated there are about 90,000 displaced people in need of assistance as a result of the recent sectarian clashes that have claimed hundreds of lives. WFP said it is preparing plans for a three-month food assistance operation that will require additional support from donors.

The U.N. refugee agency says it is scaling up its work to help those fleeing the violence that flared up last month.

In related news, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said it will provide shelter material and other items, such as blankets and mattresses, to all communities affected by the violence in Rakhine State, U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky told reporters on Tuesday.

"The government is running more than 40 temporary relief camps in six townships in Rakhine State and has asked for humanitarian assistance to help people at these sites," Nesirky said at a daily news briefing.

In the past week, the WFP said it has reached more than 66,000 displaced people with emergency food supplies, delivering rations of rice, beans and cooking oil.

It said it has completed food distributions in the townships of Sittwe, Maungdaw, Buthidang and Rathedaung. In Sittwe, it has provided a two-day ration – in other locations, food rations have been for six days.

WFP said it has about 2,800 metric tons of food (rice, pulses, oil, salt and a nutritious cereal blend known as Super Cereal) in four warehouses in the region, ready to be distributed to the affected population. It plans to distribute “super cereal” to pregnant women, nursing mothers and children under three years old as part of efforts to protect against malnutrition, officials said.
The most significant obstacle WFP is currently facing is access to the people in need, with poor roads and bridges a particular constraint, it said. Some displaced people can only be reached using small trucks.

A team led by the WFP Burma deputy country director arrived in Sittwe on Saturday to help scale up the operation there. The team has since traveled to Maungdaw and Buthidaung in order to expand deliveries, said the WFP. A second team is due to head to Maungdaw on Wednesday.

The WFP has operations in Rakhine, Shan, Kachin and Chin states, and in Magwey Division, targeting a total of about 1.8 million people for food assistance.  Programmes include specialized nutrition assistance to mothers and young children, the provision of meals in schools, and food and cash for work projects designed to create or repair infrastructure for the benefit of entire communities.
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 20 June 2012 11:49 )  

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