On the first anniversary of horrific communal violence in the central Burmese town of Meikhtila, some 8,000 people, mostly Muslims, are still living in shelters.
Elder resident U Win said, “There are still more than 8,000 people in the five rescue centers outside town. In our Chan Aye Tharyar quarter, about 200 houses are at the finishing stage. As soon as these are finished, we will accommodate these people.”
Some 400 individual homes are being constructed in Chan Aye Tharyar, built with donations collected by the Young Nat Mosque in Rangoon, said Khin Nan, a house construction committee member, though he acknowledged they were still short of funds.
“The shortage of donations is partly due to media reports saying that the new buildings are financed by the government,” he said. “That’s why the pace of construction has been slow.”
In efforts to ensure order on the anniversary of an anti-Muslim riot, in which at least 13 people were killed, police have beefed up security around the town, locals said.
An innocuous argument between a Muslim and a Buddhist in a local gold shop on 20 March 2013 ignited the violence. A Buddhist mob then lynched Muslim residents and razed houses to the ground, provoking revenge attacks. Some 10,000 people were forced to flee to shelters in rescue camps.