Sniper attacks, ambushes and clashes in Rakhine State over the last month have so far displaced over 4,500 people from their homes. Displaced people are currently sheltering in monasteries and other communal spaces in the townships of Ponnagyun, Rathedaung and Buthidaung in Rakhine State, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
The ongoing clashes and potential larger troop build-ups can further threaten the civilian population’s safety and also affect humanitarian actors’ access to people in need.
“We are worried at reports of new displacement. Vulnerable populations, including Rohingya and minority groups, are all too often caught in the middle of the crossfire. It is crucial that humanitarian actors are allowed to respond their needs, which include food, water and shelter,” said Laura Marshall, acting country director for the Norwegian Refugee Council in Myanmar.
The reported upsurge in violence also confirms that conditions for safe and sustainable returns are not present for the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees currently residing in camps in Bangladesh.
“With reports of renewed conflict in Rakhine, the possibilities for safe returns and durable solutions seem further away than ever. We call on both parties to refrain from any further escalation and ensure the protection of civilian lives,” urged Marshall.