The UN's World Food Programme (WFP) has suspended aid works in Myanmar's Rakhine State citing safety concerns, as the violence escalated with a surging death toll among the Rohingya Muslim community.
Myanmar officials blame the group Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) for the burning of homes in the area, but fleeing Rohingya civilians said a campaign of arson and killings by the Myanmar army is aimed at forcing them out of the country.
"We are coordinating with the authorities to resume distributions for all affected communities as soon as possible, including for any people newly affected by the current unrest," WFP said in a statement on Saturday.
The suspension of food assistance operations would affect 250,000 internally displaced and "other most vulnerable populations", the statement said.
Of that number, around 120,000 people – most of them Rohingya Muslim civilians – have relied on aid hand-outs in camps since 2012, when religious riots killed scores and sparked a crisis which is again burning through the state.
In recent days, another wave of 58,600 Rohingya has fled the violence to Bangladesh from Myanmar, according to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR.
Aid agencies, including the WFP, are routinely accused of a pro-Rohingya bias and the sudden flare-up of unrest has renewed safety concerns, prompting relief work to be pulled back.
The Myanmar government has also accused WFP of allowing their rations to fall into the hands of Rohingya "fighters", whom they accused of carrying out the August 25 attacks on police posts.
The UN agency has denied those accusations by Myanmar's government
Sep 14, 2020Staff Reporter Abul kalam of Camp 16 told to our correspondence that Rohingya Community Members actually want to go back to Myanmar, not to a island which is in the middle of bay of Bengal. It is really very dangerous during monsoon season. Recently, some leaders from different camps went to see the location whether […]
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