Villagers still fleeing homes in Myanmar's Rakhine state

News Stories, 4 October 2012

© UNHCR Myanmar
UNHCR has distributed relief supplies to tens of thousands of people in communities affected by the June unrest in Rakhine state.

YANGON, Myanmar, October 5 (UNHCR) The UN refugee agency said on Friday that villagers in western Myanmar's Rakhine state continue to leave their homes in search of food, health care and other assistance some four months after inter-communal violence swept through the region.

"According to figures provided by the local authorities, there are currently some 75,000 internally displaced people in IDP camps in Rakhine state, mostly in and around the townships of Sittwe, Kyauk Taw and Maungdaw," UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards said.

This was an increase from the initial government estimate of around 50,000 displaced people shortly after the unrest broke out in early June. In early August, there was a resurgence of violence in Kyauk Taw township; more than 4,000 people had their homes burned down in the attacks.

"Many more people are believed to have been indirectly affected by the violence," said Edwards. "The humanitarian community is committed to assisting all affected communities in accordance with the humanitarian principles of humanity, impartiality and neutrality," he added.

Despite the rising trend, there have been some returns. Since June, for example, many displaced people whose houses remain intact in Sittwe town have gone home. A fragile calm has returned but the situation is still tense.

Movement is still restricted in parts of Rakhine state, preventing some villagers from going to work, accessing markets, food supplies, health services and education. Out of desperation, people are leaving villages to seek food and medical assistance at the IDP camps.

"Together with our humanitarian partners, UNHCR has been advocating for greater humanitarian access and for support to be provided to these villages. We hope that by delivering aid in places of origin, humanitarian agencies can help to prevent further displacement and make interventions that can facilitate the eventual return of IDPs," spokesman Edwards said.

As part of the inter-agency response in Rakhine state, UNHCR has distributed relief supplies for some 54,000 people in IDP sites. These supplies include plastic sheets, sleeping mats, blankets, mosquito nets and kitchen sets.

The refugee agency is also supporting the construction of emergency temporary shelters that can house about 10,500 people. At the same time, the humanitarian community is working to support the delivery of basic assistance in these government-run IDP camps, making sure that the displaced people are provided with food, water, sanitation and health care until the situation stabilizes sufficiently for them to return home.

• DONATE NOW •

 

• GET INVOLVED • • STAY INFORMED •

UNHCR country pages

Internally Displaced People

The internally displaced seek safety in other parts of their country, where they need help.

Related Internet Links

UNHCR is not responsible for the content and availability of external internet sites

Returnees in Myanmar

During the early 1990s, more than 250,000 Rohingya Muslims fled across the border into Bangladesh, citing human rights abuses by Myanmar's military government. In exile, refugees received shelter and assistance in 20 camps in the Cox's Bazaar region of Bangladesh. More than 230,000 of the Rohingya Muslims have returned since 1992, but about 22,000 still live in camps in Bangladesh. To promote stability in returnee communities in Myanmar and to help this group of re-integrate into their country, UNHCR and its partner agencies provide monitors to insure the protection and safety of the returnees as well as vocational training, income generation schemes, adult literacy programs and primary education.

Returnees in Myanmar

UNHCR Relief Items Pour into Myanmar

With eight relief flights and an earlier truck convoy from nearby Thailand, UNHCR had by June 6, 2008 moved 430 tonnes of shelter and basic household supplies into Myanmar to help as many as 130,000 victims of Cyclone Nargis. The aid includes plastic sheeting, plastic rolls, mosquito nets, blankets and kitchen sets. Once the aid arrives in the country it is quickly distributed.

On the outskirts of the city of Yangon – which was also hit by the cyclone – and in the Irrawady delta, some families have been erecting temporary shelters made out of palm leaf thatching. But they desperately need plastic sheeting to keep out the monsoon rains.

Posted on 12 June 2008

UNHCR Relief Items Pour into Myanmar

Myanmar Cyclone Victims Still Need Aid

With eight relief flights and an earlier truck convoy from nearby Thailand, UNHCR had by June 6, 2008 moved 430 tonnes of shelter and basic household supplies into Myanmar to help as many as 130,000 victims of Cyclone Nargis. The aid includes plastic sheeting, plastic rolls, mosquito nets, blankets and kitchen sets. Once the aid arrives in the country it is quickly distributed.

On the outskirts of the city of Yangon – which was also hit by the cyclone – and in the Irrawady delta, some families have been erecting temporary shelters made out of palm leaf thatching. But they desperately need plastic sheeting to keep out the monsoon rains.

Posted on 12 June 2008

Myanmar Cyclone Victims Still Need Aid

UNHCR Meet: Nation of the DisplacedPlay video

UNHCR Meet: Nation of the Displaced

UNHCR's governing body, at its annual meeting, draws attention to the increasing numbers of displaced and the challenges of protecting and assisting them. The number of forcibly displaced people is equivalent to the 26th largest nation on earth.
Iraq: Moving to a New Camp in KhankePlay video

Iraq: Moving to a New Camp in Khanke

A new camp for displaced people is taking shape in the village of Khanke in Iraq's Kurdistan region, with the help of UNHCR and its partners. After weeks of uncomfortable living in the courtyard of an old public building, Chenar and her ethnic Yazidi family are looking forward to moving to the new facility.
Iraq: Camp expands to cope with new influxPlay video

Iraq: Camp expands to cope with new influx

A former transit camp for Syrian refugees in northern Iraq is being reconfigured and expanded to meet the needs of a growing number of displaced people.