MSF Warns: Humanitarian Emergency in Rakhine, Myanmar

rohignyaDoctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières) has warned of a humanitarian emergency in the western state of Rakhine in Myanmar.

The medical aid agency warned on Thursday that tens of thousands of displaced persecuted Muslims in Rakhine were unable to access emergency medical care.
The agency general director Arjan Hehenkamp said, “It is among people living in makeshift camps in rice fields or other crowded strips of land that Médecins Sans Frontières is seeing the most acute medical needs.”
Hehenkamp also stated that insecurity has had an impacted on the agency’s delivery of lifesaving medical care.
Some pregnant women give birth in muddy camps without a doctor, MSF said, adding that surveys also show that the number of malnourished children in the area is reaching an alarming level.

“The only drinking water pond we have is the one which we have to share with the cattle of the nearby village. Five minutes from here is a pond with crystal clear water. We don’t dare to go,” MSF quoted one displaced man as saying.
Skin infections, worms, chronic coughing and diarrhea are also common ailments.
MSF urged Myanmar’s government and community leaders to “ensure that all people of Rakhine can live without fear of violence, abuse and harassment, and that humanitarian organizations can assist those most in need.”

On December 25, 2012, the United Nations General Assembly issued a resolution expressing concern over the persecution of Muslims in Myanmar. The resolution called on Myanmar’s government to “protect all their (Muslims) human rights, including their right to a nationality.”
Myanmar’s government refuses to recognize Rohingya Muslims as citizens and labels the minority of about 800,000 as “illegal” immigrants.
The persecuted minority have faced torture, neglect, and repression in Myanmar since it achieved independence in 1948.

In November 2012, Human Rights Watch reported accounts of “gruesome casualties” due to the ethnic violence in Rakhine, including beheadings and killings of women and children.

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