Months after inter-communal unrest swept through the region, displaced people in western Myanmar's Rakhine state still desperately need food, shelter, health care and other assistance. In June and again in October this year violence broke out killing dozens, destroying thousands of homes and forcing some 115,000 people to search for safety and assistance. Food prices have risen sharply; and with limited medical care available, a potential outbreak of disease could be devastating.
So far, UNHCR has distributed relief supplies for more than 54,000 people in government-run IDP sites, including plastic sheets, sleeping mats, blankets, mosquito nets and kitchen sets. An additional 3,500 tents are being rushed to Myanmar from the agency's regional stockpiles in Dubai. UNHCR also supports the construction of emergency temporary shelters to house more than 10,000 people in and around the state capital Sittwe, as well the building of over 200 homes in northern Rakhine state.
All assistance is being provided on an impartial basis regardless of background or ethnic origin. Together with our humanitarian partners, UNHCR has been advocating for greater humanitarian access and for support to be provided to the affected villages. We hope that by delivering aid in places of origin, humanitarian agencies can help to prevent further displacement and make interventions that can facilitate the eventual voluntary return of all displaced people.