The Financial Express

UN suspends food aid to refugees in Myanmar

| Updated: October 22, 2017 00:08:49

Lankabangla and Fianancial Express Lankabangla and Fianancial Express
UN suspends food aid to refugees in Myanmar

The United Nation'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.

In recent days, tens of thousands of Rohingya have crossed into Bangladesh to escape mass killings they say are being perpetrated by Myanmar forces, report http://www.aljazeera.com/.

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 have 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



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