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Oxfam is deeply concerned about the plight of more than 160,000 civilians who have crossed the border into Bangladesh, and countless others caught up in the conflict in Rakhine State, Myanmar resulting in a large-scale humanitarian crisis.
Lan Mercado, Oxfam in Asia Regional Director, said:
"Every day, thousands of people are taking the dangerous journey across the border, and due to access restrictions in northern Rakhine, it is unknown how many more are missing or trapped. Women, children, older people and persons with disabilities are among those taking shelter in the two South-Eastern districts of Cox’s Bazaar and the Bandarban.
They are facing extreme difficulties with many living without protection and under open skies. They have little or no access to clean drinking water, food supplies, sanitation facilities, and other basic needs.
A significant number were wounded while crossing the border, are physically and emotionally traumatized, and are in urgent need of life-saving humanitarian assistance."
In Myanmar, humanitarian operations in Rakhine State have been severely disrupted through administrative restrictions, security constraints, and heightened tensions. While ongoing humanitarian operations for displaced people in Central Rakhine are now resuming, humanitarian access for people affected by conflict in northern Rakhine is severely restricted.
In Bangladesh, Oxfam has started to respond to the immediate needs of the people fleeing conflict by working with the International Organization for Migration (IOM). We are providing containers for clean drinking water, portable toilets and sanitation facilities, plastic sheets, and other essential Non-Food Items (NFIs).
“Oxfam calls on all authorities to guarantee humanitarian access to all civilians and ensure their protection from ongoing conflict. There is an urgent need to scale up humanitarian assistance for the people. We recognize the efforts of the Bangladesh government in providing access for the people fleeing the conflict in Myanmar and responding to the urgent humanitarians needs. We urge the Bangladesh government to extend free and unimpeded access to all humanitarian agencies willing and able to deliver essential life-saving assistance to Cox' Bazaar and Bandarban districts," said Mercado.
In Myanmar, Oxfam is ready to provide life-saving relief to people, and we call on the authorities to guarantee the safety and security of humanitarian workers and for an immediate cessation of violence and conflict. Oxfam also underlines that special attention must be paid to the needs of women and girls. The protection, privacy, health, and hygiene needs of women, girls and nursing mothers must be met and measures must be taken to prevent any form of sexual or gender based violence.