UN aid operation seeks access to northern Rakhine State in Myanmar

Source:Xinhua Published: 2017/11/10 8:07:02

With more than 600,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh camps and untold numbers of Rohingyas in need of aid still in Myanmar, UN humanitarians pleaded to the Naypyidaw government on Thursday for access to northern Rakhine State.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that aid "access in Myanmar's northern Rakhine State remains extremely challenging, with the UN being granted almost no access by the government," chief UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters at UN Headquarters in New York.

Although, he said, the international Red Cross movement (ICRC) was able to continue providing assistance in the area, "having reached tens of thousands of people with food and other services already."

"The needs remain high, with the Red Cross movement aiming to reach more than 180,000 people with assistance by the end of the year," he said. "Further humanitarian access and assistance is urgently needed."

Dujarric said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for "full and unfettered access for aid workers in Myanmar, including in Rakhine State, and we continue to encourage the government to implement this call to ensure that all those in need receive assistance."

The spokesman said that as a result of the overall limitations on access, "the United Nations has not been able to conduct an independent comprehensive needs assessment in northern Rakhine."

Last week, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reported the number of Rohingyas -- an Indo-Aryan Muslim minority in overwhelmingly Buddhist Myanmar -- topped the 600,000 mark arriving at camps just over the border in the hills of Bangladesh.

On Aug. 25, a Rohingya militia allegedly attacked three police posts in the state and sparked the government's return of attacks against the local villages. The exchanges of fire have caused hundreds of thousands to flee into neighboring Bangladesh.

Posted in: ASIA-PACIFIC

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