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Internally Displaced Rohingyas in Arakan Face Starvation

By Aung Aung

Sittwe, Arakan State (Rohingya Vision) – Thousands of internally displaced Rohingyas in Sittwe (Akyab) and other townships are facing shortages of food and highly likely to suffer from starvation as the ration supplies have been cut off, according to the reliable sources.

The WFP (World’s Food Programme) that used to provide rations to more than 70,000 internally displaced people (IDP) in Sittwe is said to have cut off ration supplies post ‘Komen’ Cylone hit the region.

When one of the IDP Camps Committee members contacted the WFP office, they responded saying that they had no more rations for them. The food rations in their stores have run out as the President Thein Sein asked the WFP to provide Rice to the ‘Buddhist Rakhines’ affected by the floods.

“WFP used to provide rice to us in every first or second of the month. This month, they didn’t provide anything saying they had no more rice for us. We have to depend on them because our movements and access to livelihoods have been severely restricted by the government. We have been under genocidal blockage since June 2012.

Now, we, more than 70,000 IDP in the concentration camps here, have been hit the worst by the recent cyclone and the floods. Hardly can any NGO or INGOs reach out to us to provide reliefs. Besides, the government has asked even WFP to help only Buddhist Rakhines, not us. It is blatant discrimination amongst the natural disaster victims on the basis of ethnicity and religion,” said Mr. Kabir Ahmed, an internally displaced Rohingya in Manzhi Camp.

“Rakhines have the full citizenship rights; they are helped by everyone; and they can move freely. We have none! We have no right to work for survival. Since the WFP has cut off the rations, we are now facing starvation,” he continued.

Mr. Maason, another internally displaced Rohingya, said “we are afflicted by hunger as we have no rice to cook. I went to Dar Paing and begged rice for my children. But I don’t know what my tomorrow holds for me.”

Since last July, the WFP has cut off rations supplying rations to 27 families in ‘Parein’ village and other 517 people at ‘Yanthay’ village in Mrauk-U Township and 61 people in Kyaukphyu IDP Camps without valid reasons.

The Rohingyas there are suffering from extreme hunger. While some people choose to beg to eat for survival, while some do not beg but stay starved having just meals for one time a day.

[Edited by M.S. Anwar]

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