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Children of all communities in Rakhine State are the first victims of the inter-communal violence, says UNICEF

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Sittwe, Rakhine State, Myanmar 03 April 2014- Humanitarian operations in Rakhine State have been interrupted after attacks on UN and NGO premises in Sittwe one week ago led to the relocation of more than 170 staff and severe damage to more than a dozen humanitarian premises. Life-saving assistance to displaced people, isolated villages, and Rakhine communities have been seriously disrupted. The provision of water, health services, food, and protection are of particular concern.

"The attack on humanitarian assistance, is actually an attack on the most vulnerable, especially children" said Bertrand Bainvel, UNICEF Representative to Myanmar.

Restoring lifesaving interventions for children in all communities is the absolute priority for UNICEF.   Services for an estimated 2,700 malnourished children are currently suspended and UNICEF is in discussion with the Ministry of Health in Sittwe to resume support as soon as possible. 
 
In close cooperation with remaining WASH actors and the Department of Rural Development in Sittwe, UNICEF is ensuring that most at risk 17,500 people including children in PaukTaw Township are receiving potable water. Another priority for UNICEF is to ensure that remedial education activities continue in Temporary Learning Spaces. 

While protection mechanisms for children, including community based monitoring system are functioning, UNICEF is strengthening support to the Department of Social Welfare in order to protect vulnerable children in Sittwe Township.
"But effort should not stop here. We must sustain water and sanitation activities, resume immunization of children and pregnant and lactating women in uncovered or hard-to reach areas across Rakhine State, and  scale up child protection and education activities in all communities as soon as possible" continued Bainvel.

UNICEF is committed to address both humanitarian and development unmet needs of all communities in Rakhine State, regardless of the ethnicity and the citizenship status of children or their parents.
Referring to the low level of development of the Rakhine State as evidenced by high malnutrition and poverty rates and low levels of learning achievements, Bainvel concluded: "Life savings interventions are critical for displaced children. At the same time. we must work with the Government and partners to ensure that long term development needs of all children in Rakhine are met. Children of all communities in Rakhine State have the right to grow and develop to their fullest potential".

For more information please contact:
Sandar Linn, UNICEF Myanmar, slinn@unicef.org
Ye Lwin Oo, UNICEF Myanmar, ylwinoo@unicef.org

 

 
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