As Aid Dwindles, IDP Population in Rakhine State Increases by 10,000 in October Alone

Saturday, November 7, 2020

The population of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Rakhine State grew by nearly 10,000 in October due to intensified attacks from the air and waterways by the Burmese military against the Arakan Army, the Rakhine Ethnic Congress (REC) reported.

According to REC, there were 226,804 IDPs in the state on October 1 and 236,229 IDPs by November 2.

“The two forces have especially clashed in Rathedaung, Pauktaw and Minbya townships. The Burmese navy attacked villages from the Mayu River in Rathedaung Township and the Laymyo River in Pauktaw Township. That’s why many local people have been displaced in the area,” REC secretary Zaw Zaw Tun told NMG, adding that the Burma Army had also launched airstrikes in Rathedaung.

Most of the new IDPs are from Myebon, Minbya and Buthidaung townships, and are in urgent need of humanitarian support, REC stated.

“Their situation is really bad in Myebon Township. They haven’t got aid for six or seven months. Neither the government or NGOs could provide assistance to them because it’s really difficult to travel in the area,” Zaw Zaw Tun said of the IDPs. “Clashes are ongoing there. Both forces are patrolling the area too. We are worried about the situation.”

One IDP staying in Myebon’s Kam Htawng Gyi camp, where 1,324 new IDPs recently arrived, told NMG that displaced people were starving.

“There is nothing to eat. We fled here due to clashes in our village. Now we don’t have any food. Please help us,” the individual said.

According to REC, the number of IDPs outside of camps in northern Rakhine State exceeds those currently in the camps. There are some 80,903 people in IDP camps, and more than 154,000 outside of these camps.

REC recommends that all stakeholders in the conflict seek a solution through political dialogue, and that the government, the international community and domestic organizations provide aid to the growing number of IDPs.