More help needed for the 200,000 refugees and needy civilians in Burma's unsettled regions

Burma: emergency relief for Kachin refugees – finally, after a blockade that lasted for one year

As the supporting measures for the more than 200,000 refugees and needy civilians in Burma's unsettled regions are far from sufficient, they must be increased urgently. This was pointed out by the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) on Monday. "One year after the outbreak of violence between the Muslim Rohingya and Buddhists in the state of Arakan, 140,000 refugees are still in urgent need of humanitarian assistance," said the STP’s expert on questions regarding Asia, Ulrich Delius, in Göttingen on Monday. Also, the situation of the civilian population in the embattled state of Kachin is dramatic. Last Friday, the first convoy reached the around 60,000 needy people, after the Government had blocked the region off for one year.

The United Nations will need 80 million dollars to provide basic supplies for all the IDPs in Burma. So far, the International Community has only managed to cover about 18 percent of this sum.

In Kachin State, the long-awaited first convoy brought food, hygiene products, medicines and other supplies for 5,100 of the 60,000 trapped civilians, who are living in areas controlled by the freedom movement "Kachin Independence Army (KIA)". So far, the authorities had refused to allow aid agencies to access these regions. Since the KIA and the Burmese government are negotiating about signing a ceasefire agreement since the end of May 2013, humanitarian aid has now also been made easier.

Arakan state is also in need of more humanitarian assistance. After the violent clashes between Muslim Rohingya and Buddhist Rakhine had escalated in June 2012 once again, about 69,000 of the 140,000 the refugees are still only living in tents – despite the rainy season. They are in desperate need of makeshift accommodations at the least. In many camps, there is a lack of food, drinking water and of adequate sanitary and medical facilities. Many of the camp’s inmates are children and adolescents – but there are neither schools nor sufficiently trained teachers to teach them.

There are still about 450,000 IDPs living in Burma, mostly inhabitants of the ethnic minority areas. The approximately 200,000 IDPs in Arakan and Kachin State are especially dependent on humanitarian aid because they are acutely afflicted or have fled from attacks.