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Military regime blocks aid to Rakhine State


The Rakhine State Stability, Peace and Development Work Coordination Committee banned all local and international organizations from providing relief to cyclone-impacted communities in Rakhine State on June 7, RFA reported. “They want people to have to deal with them. They want to control every local and international group,” said an unnamed source speaking about the military regime in Naypyidaw. Than Htwe, the Deputy Chief of Mission at Burma’s embassy in Thailand, defended Naypyidaw in an editorial in the Bangkok Post published June 6. He claimed that international aid organizations were allowed to provide immediate humanitarian aid. He also accused the media of exaggerating the crisis in Rakhine State. “Cyclone Mocha showed how the image of Myanmar painted by unreliable media outlets was nothing but an exaggeration,” he wrote. Naypyidaw claims that 145 people were killed and that casualties were kept to a minimum due to timely warnings and updated cyclone information prior to May 14 – when it made landfall.

The United League of Arakan/Arakan Army (ULA/AA) stated that 146 people were killed and 10 were injured. Three people remain missing and more than 1.2 million are in need of humanitarian assistance in Rakhine State. An estimated 85 percent of shelters at Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps – home to 130,000 Rohingya – were destroyed by the cyclone. Rohingya survivors in Sittwe told The New Humanitarian that due to travel restrictions placed on them by the authorities in Burma, they weren’t permitted to evacuate as their Buddhist and Hindu neighbors were by the military. One Rohingya man said he’d only been informed about Cyclone Mocha the day prior to its arrival. Many Rohingya survivors believe nearly 500 were killed on May 14. The National Unity Government (NUG) stated that 400 were killed. According to local journalists and rescue teams on-the-ground in Rakhine State interviewed by DVB, 163 bodies have been recovered. The U.N. states that 1.6 million are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance in the wake of Cyclone Mocha.


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