Some 36,000 people who have been displaced by inter-communal violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state will benefit from an additional $5.3 million in assistance provided by the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), the world body announced today.
The funds will enable five UN agencies and their humanitarian partners to carry out activities in health, nutrition, shelter, water and sanitation, and food.
“Thanks to CERF’s immediate funding, humanitarian agencies are able to respond in a decisive manner to provide urgent life-saving aid such as emergency shelter, clean drinking water, food and healthcare,” said the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Myanmar, Ashok Nigam.
The north of Rakhine state has been the site of inter-communal violence over recent months. The violence first began in June, with clashes between ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims, which eventually led the Government to declare a state of emergency there.
That bout of violence reportedly left at least a dozen civilians dead and hundreds of homes destroyed, while internally displacing some 75,000 people. Since then, at least 89 people have been killed and 36,000 displaced in the wake of a renewed upsurge in violence, beginning in late September, which also left more than 5,300 houses and religious buildings destroyed, according to UN estimates.
The World Food Programme (WFP) said $2 million in CERF funds enabled the agency to rapidly step up its operations with emergency food assistance to all 36,000 newly displaced people.
“We were already distributing food at the time of the October needs assessments in Rakhine. Our food stocks were heavily depleted from distributing since the June communal violence,” said WFP spokesperson Marcus Prior. “The CERF was used immediately to address the new growing needs.”
An initial OCHA response plan had originally sought $32.5 million to provide assistance in Rakhine during the period of July-December 2012. However, the plan was revised by OCHA last week to $67.6 million to assist 115,000 displaced people over the period of July 2012-June 2013. So far, it has received only $27 million.
CERF was created in 2005 to pre-position funding to respond in a timely fashion to humanitarian crises. Globally, the fund has enabled life-saving and immediate help for millions of people in some 87 countries with $2.7 billion in aid. It is funded by voluntary contributions from Member States, non-governmental organizations, regional governments, the private sector and individual donors.