Aid


As some schools in northern Rakhine State prepare to reopen today, human rights groups continue to call for greater access to the region where thousands have been displaced in the wake of a deadly assault on border guard posts earlier this month.

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An international rights group has urged the government of Myanmar to lift restrictions on the flow of humanitarian aid to western Rakhine and northern Kachin states.

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Food aid for more than 80,000 people in parts of northwest Myanmar has been suspended because of a military clampdown in the area, the World Food Programme said Wednesday.

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The World Food Programme is to reinstate food aid to internally displaced persons in Rakhine State, who had been removed from rations lists earlier this year, after violence hit northern parts of the state last week.

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A coalition of nine local humanitarian organisations active in Kachin State released a statement on Friday voicing their concern over restrictions imposed by the Burmese government and military on humanitarian aid access to camps housing villagers displaced by the ongoing Kachin conflict.

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The top United Nations aid official has called on all sides in conflicts in Myanmar to find peaceful ways to resolve their differences and urged strengthened humanitarian action to support the people affected by violence.

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On a recent visit to Myanmar, Mr Adriano Campolina, Chief Executive of the international development agency, Action Aid International, has a chance to observe activism and social welfare programmes in action and check up on his NGO’s progress.

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Sectarian tensions have simmered for decades here on the country’s western frontier with Bangladesh, and they exploded with deadly violence in 2012 when mobs of ethnic Rakhine Buddhists drove minority Muslim Rohingyas from their homes. Four years later, about 120,000 people remain displaced and, with hostilities as high as ever, the government is struggling to help them return home.

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At a speech in Rangoon, Speaker of the British House of Commons Rt Hon John Bercow stressed that restrictions on humanitarian aid to conflict-affected communities in Kachin, northern Shan and Arakan state should be urgently lifted.

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In response to widespread flooding that has hit several parts of Myanmar since late July, the European Union (EU) is providing 200 000 EUR (more than 280,000,000 Kyat) in humanitarian funding to assist the most affected communities.

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“I would rather stay here and die of starvation than go back to the camp,” said Ko Maung Maung.

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Authorities in Putao Township, Kachin State, issued an order to an internally displaced persons (IDP) camp saying agencies and groups need permission to deliver aid.

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France has allocated € 1.4 M to improve food security in Rakhine and Kachin States and to contribute rebuilding livelihoods in Chin State in 2016, the French Embassy to Myanmar said in a statement on 21 September.

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In response to displacements following recent armed clashes in Kayin State, around 4000 people who took refuge in Myaing Gyi Ngu have received urgent assistance from the Myanmar Red Cross Society (MRCS) together with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), supplementing the timely and generous support already provided by the monastries, authorities and civil society.

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A new microfinance programme backed by the US government’s foreign aid agency USAID aims to promote the growth of medium-sized businesses in Burma and fill the “missing middle” in the country’s economy.

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Thousands of villagers relocated ahead of renewed clashes in Kayin State are in need of food supplies, local sources say, after renewed skirmishes this week forced hundreds more from their homes.

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Japan has pledged 135 billion yen (US$1.33 billion) to Myanmar as its Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi held bilateral talks yesterday on the sidelines of the ASEAN summits and related meetings in Vientiane, Laos.

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A campaign led by the US international aid agency aims to fight malaria among more than 3 million people in 33 townships across Kayin and Rakhine states, and Tanintharyi Region over the next five years.

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Japan is planning to offer Myanmar loans totalling ¥100 billion (about K1.19 trillion, or US$995 million) for infrastructure development, Kyodo reported on August 26, quoting a Japanese government source.

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Soe Aung, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, said that the government has earmarked 20 billion kyats for flood victims and over 17 billion kyat remains unspent.

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