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People ‘living in fear’ in Rakhine State: UN humanitarian chief

The UN’s Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, on Wednesday visited several different communities across Rakhine State.

Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos Photo: OCHA“I was very concerned by some of what I saw today,” she said. “In Myebon I saw thousands of people in overcrowded, substandard shelter with poor sanitation. 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.”

During her visit, Amos travelled with Burma’s Minister of Border Affairs, Lt-Gen Thein Htay, to Myebon, Pauktaw, Maungdaw and to a series of camps outside Sittwe where more than 70,000 people live.

“Tensions between the communities are still running very high,” said Amos. “I was shocked to see so many soldiers everywhere keeping communities away from each other. 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.

“The trust is not there. We need the political leaders in Myanmar to support the important humanitarian work being done by the United Nations and our partners. Local leaders need to speak out and explain that they have asked us to be here to help. Our job is to try to help everyone in need,” she said.

The UN recently revised its Rakhine Response Plan to address the needs of 115,000 displaced people for the next nine months, at a cost of some US$68 million. $41 million is still needed.

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 06 December 2012 14:10 )  

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