Hunger stalks Mrauk-U’s long-term IDPs 

Junta travel restrictions in the wake of the latest fighting have brought most humanitarian operations to a halt.

By Admin 09 Apr 2024

Hunger stalks Mrauk-U’s long-term IDPs 

DMG Newsroom
9 April 2024, Mrauk-U

Mrauk-U residents who were displaced by the initial round of fighting between the Myanmar military and the Arakan Army (AA) in 2019 say they are on the verge of starvation, having received no supplies from local or international nongovernmental organisations or charities during the ongoing conflict in Arakan State.

“We get no assistance at all. And there are no jobs available. We have to sell our belongings and borrow money from lenders by paying interest. If it goes on like this, we will soon face starvation,” said Daw Hla Aye Soe from the Myadazaung displacement camp in Mrauk-U.

Junta travel restrictions in the wake of the latest fighting have brought most humanitarian operations to a halt.

Displaced people who spoke to DMG said they had not received their monthly supplies from the World Food Programme (WFP) for over three months.

“We heard only the displaced people in towns get supplies from the WFP. Displaced people like us in rural areas do not get any assistance at all from the WFP or other groups,” said a displaced person from Sanbawkaing displacement camp.

Local charities are also facing challenges in helping internally displaced people (IDPs). They have difficulties raising funds and communicating with international agencies due to the ongoing fighting.

There are 28 displacement camps in Mrauk-U Township, with 13 in Mrauk-U town and the rest in rural areas. Most camp residents have been displaced since 2019.

Displaced people in Mrauk-U town have been forced to flee to rural areas due to the fighting. They are suffering from extreme heat as Myanmar is experiencing one of the hottest summers on record.

“We are concerned for children and elderly persons due to high temperatures. We have made preparations to be able to provide emergency healthcare services,” said Tein Nyo displacement camp manager U Soe Naing.

Many vulnerable displaced people in Arakan are facing water scarcity as they head into the driest week of the year. Provision of shelter support ahead of cyclone season is critical, said a recent report from the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA).

Tens of thousands of IDPs in Arakan State urgently need food, shelter, medicine and clean drinking water.