source Gulf Times, 23 Sept
|QRC representatives extending support to the displaced Rohingya Muslims|
An emergency response team from the Qatar Red Crescent (QRC) has reached the Rohingya camps established by the Government of Myanmar near Sittwe, the city where violence broke out between Alrakain Buddhist and Rohingya Muslim groups in June.
The violence has resulted in more than 300 people being killed, over 3,000 homes burned and 70,000 people displaced and scattered in dozens of camps in several villages in Rakhine province, according to reports by the United Nations.
Other human rights organisations suggest that the number of refugees might be bigger, though it is hard to find out the exact number of displaced people due to the absence of a recording system and the restrictions imposed by the local authorities in the province.
QRC’s emergency response team has identified immediate humanitarian needs in the camps. Initial information indicates that malaria, diarrhea, and eye and skin diseases have begun to spread among refugees due to the absence of sanitation and hygiene, and safe shelters coupled with the heavy rainfall and swamps formation.
The QRC has undertaken relief efforts in the Rakhine province with a $ 1.5mn assistance provided by the Qatar Government.
As an initial response, QRC distributed food and non-food materials such as bedsheets, plastic sheets as well as mosquito nets to reduce the spread of malaria for 400 families.
QRC aims to meet the immediate and short term needs at the camps in co-ordination with the Myanmar Red Cross (MRC), the only National Society that provides services in the refugee camps.
Together with the MRC, the QRC will work to provide urgent health relief by operating a number of mobile clinics in the camp areas, apart from undertaking health awareness sessions, contributing to fight the spread of mosquitoes, and implementing a temporary shelter programme as the information from the field indicates that the local authorities do not intend to return the refugees to their homes in Sittwe any time soon for fear of renewed violence.
Earlier, QRC had contributed to the relief of those affected by Myanmar Nargis Cyclone in 2008 sending relief items worth $300,000.