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Burma’s displaced persons challenging aid groups

Up to 150,000 persons remain displaced in Kachin and Rakhine states in Burma and many more have been affected by the fighting and sectarian unrest in the two regions, according to a report on Friday by UNOCHA (UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs).

Displaced people in Kachin State Photo: KMSSThe two humanitarian emergencies continue to place serious pressure on aid groups to meet the needs of the most vulnerable, in an environment where resources are inadequate, access is difficult and fighting and violence continue.

The number of displaced persons in Kachin and northern Shan states increased to some 75,000 in September from approximately 70,000 in August, following the intensification of clashes in some areas and the forced return from China of some 5,900 people, the report said.

Since mid-July international humanitarian partners have not been permitted to reach some 54 percent of the displaced people (over 39,000 people).

Humanitarian assistance provisions are urgently required, especially for those who have been recently displaced. An additional concern is also the situation of some 8,000 to 10,000 IDPs in or around Hpakan in Kachin State where ongoing clashes civilian casualties have been reported, said UNOCHA.

IDPs figures are also on the rise in Rakhine State. The government estimates indicate that there are some 75,000 displaced people in Rakhine accommodated in 40 camps and temporary locations in Sittwe and Kyauktaw townships compared to some 70,000 last month. The Government reported that all IDPs in Maungdaw moved to temporary shelters/tents close to their villages of origin, in an effort to facilitate the reconstruction of their houses and restart their livelihood activities as soon as possible. However, renewed violence this week caused additional displacement.

The report said prior to the current violence, some improvement in access has been observed since the end of September. In late September, some aid groups, including the World Food Programme and UNHCR and some NGOs, managed to slowly resume some of their regular activities in some areas of the three townships of northern Rakhine State, which were suspended since June 2012.

It said misperception against humanitarian workers continues to exist with reports of calls to terminate relief activities of some agencies.

In Kachin and northern Shan states, unhindered and sustained access to all affected locations is also essential to guarantee that all displaced receive much needed relief aid, the report said.

While various local partners are reaching some locations, the prevailing insecurity and logistical challenges continue to hinder operations. UN-led aid convoys have been on stand-by since mid-July as permission to reach IDP locations is not yet granted.

Some, US$ 68.3 million is required to meet the immediate needs for the Rakhine and Kachin humanitarian responses, said the report. To date, only $41.4 million has been raised or pledged.

The Rakhine Response Plan launched in July called for $32.5 million. A total of $14.9 million has been disbursed or pledged against the plan. As of 1 October, donations from the government, private companies, religious groups and individuals amounted to approximately $2.7 million.

The Kachin sector response plan (July 2012) estimated that a total of $35.8 million is required to meet the humanitarian needs for up to 85,000 people between March 2012 and February 2013. As of October 24, $26.5 million of funding has been received or pledged for humanitarian programmes from various sources, including contributions from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and bilateral donors.

For a copy of the report, go to
Last Updated ( Thursday, 25 October 2012 14:05 )  

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