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In response to a UN statement saying that hundreds of thousands of people have been affected by the evacuation of international aid groups from Arakan, the state government has said that there is still enough food for impoverished villagers and those displaced people in shelters.
The UN announced on 2 April that last week’s evacuation of 170 aid workers has already impacted the region, with the provision of water, health services, food and protection of particular concern.
“Nearly 15,000 children in IDP camps no longer have access to psycho-social support, while life-saving therapeutic treatment for more than 300 children with severe acute malnutrition in Sittwe has been suspended,” UNOCHA said in a statement. “A total of 1,300 metric tonnes of food will need to be distributed in Rakhine [Arakan] within the next two weeks, which will be a challenge in the absence of the NGOs as implementing partners.”
However, according to State government spokesman Win Myaing, food and medical needs have already been distributed and are covered until 16 April.
“We have already distributed them [vulnerable communities and internally displaced persons] both food and medicine through state-level government departments to last until 16 April,” he said. “We also have a store of rice – more than 3,000 sacks at a Sittwe warehouse and another 1,000 more at the Myanmar Port Authority warehouse.
“In fact, that is enough; we can do the math,” he told DVB on Thursday. “In the past, aid from donor countries was distributed through organisations set up by state-level government departments – it did not always go through the UN and INGOs.”
Win Myaing said that 12 people suspected of involvement in violence last week targeting UN and INGO offices in Sittwe have been detained and are under investigation.
A commission formed by the President’s Office to probe the violence wrapped up its investigation on 3 April and is due to submit its report to the president on 7 April.