Red Cross aids families affected by violence in Myanmar

Report
from British Red Cross
Published on 08 Feb 2013 View Original

In Rakhine State, Myanmar Red Cross volunteers are helping thousands of people who fled inter-communal violence in 2012 and are living in camps with little access to basic services.

The Myanmar Red Cross Society has been assisting displaced communities since the onset of violence in early June 2012, providing health care, clean water and sanitation facilities, which are areas of critical concern.

Providing adequate shelter is also a priority and the Myanmar Red Cross Society will support the building of up to 160 temporary shelters in the coming months.

Impartial and neutral

British Red Cross communications delegate Becky Webb, who has been seconded to Myanmar with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said: “As an impartial and neutral organisation, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is supporting all affected communities based on humanitarian need, irrespective of their political affiliations or religious beliefs.” “Around 100,000 people fled the fighting and the Red Cross is aiding both ethnic Rakhine and Muslim communities in the camps, where there are immense humanitarian needs.”

Red Cross volunteers are distributing 8,000 litres of water every day to camps which house families from both communities and they have also constructed wells and toilets to help meet some of the basic water and sanitation needs.

Health and income issues

The Myanmar Red Cross is working in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, supporting health services in more than 10 camp clinics with volunteers on hand to help respond to common health complaints such as skin diseases, cuts and sprains.

In Say Thamar Gyi camp a basic bamboo structure serves as a health clinic, where Ms Thida’s daughter has been getting treatment from a Red Cross volunteer for a skin problem.

She said: “I have been living in this camp for six months since my house and the shop we ran was burnt down. I’m in very big trouble as I have no job here and I want to send my children to school but there is no school.”

Red Cross volunteers

U Khin Maung Hla, secretary general of the Myanmar Red Cross, said: “Lives have been torn apart by the inter-communal violence in both ethnic Rakhine and Muslim communities.

“Red Cross aid is reaching thousands of people from both communities every day and we have rapidly scaled up our number of volunteers to help respond to the significant needs.”