Tuesday July 16, 2019
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Myanmar in state of emergency due to flood

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Yangon: The toll in the Myanmar floods since June has gone up to 88 and affected more than 330,000 people across the nation, prompting a state of emergency.

AFP Photo
AFP Photo

Most of the deaths were reported in western Rakhine state with at least 55 deaths, Xinhua news agency quoted ministry of social welfare, relief and resettlement.

The deadly flood killed 4,650 cattle, displaced 85,400 people and destroyed 10,956 homes and more than 88,120 hectares of farmland.

Flooding has begun to move southwards and it is likely to expand and affect the southern part of the country.

The ministry of agriculture and irrigation said all dams across the country will continue to be under watch. Forty dams were releasing excess water.

Myanmar President U Thein Sein, in his radio speech to the nation, vowed that the government had made arrangements for restoring normalcy in flood-hit areas as soon as possible.

He said the government will assist farmers in ploughing their lands and provide them with seeds to grow rice.

Myanmar rice federation on Thursday decided to halt rice export until September 15 for domestic reserve in face of the severe flood.

The one-and-a-half-month freeze is said to ensure an adequate supply of rice for the domestic market and to maintain stability of rice.

Export will not be done unless rice supply is sufficient for domestic market during the period, said the federation leadership, adding that a total of 170,000 bags of rice will be purchased from private sector to store as reserve for local self-sufficiency.

According to the ministry of agriculture and irrigation, about 344,493 hectares of farmlands were submerged, of which Rakhine state suffered the most which accounted for over 105,300 hectares.

Of the four declared disaster zones namely Rakhine, Chin, Sagaing and Magway, Rakhine state was the worst hit.

(IANS)

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Report: Conditions in Myanmar Not Safe for Return of Rohingya Refugees

Myanmar has presented Bangladesh with a list of more than 1,200 verified displaced persons who repeatedly expressed their desire to return, he said

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rohingya refugees
FILE - Rohingya Muslims, who crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, wait in queues to receive aid at Kutupalong refugee camp in Ukhiya, Bangladesh, Nov. 15, 2017. VOA

Conditions in Myanmar are far too dangerous for the safe, dignified return of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees who have fled to Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, to escape violence and persecution in their home country, according to a report by the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

More than 730,000 Rohingya refugees are living in squalid, overcrowded camps in Cox’s Bazar.  While conditions in Bangladesh remain dire, U.N. officials say the situation in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state is worse and far more threatening.

U.N. Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kate Gilmore presented the report to the U.N. council. She says Rohingya Muslims in northern Rakhine state face serious discrimination, and continuous, systematic violations of their fundamental rights and freedoms.

“We continue to receive and can verify reports from a variety of sources, including reports on sexual and gender-based violence, that human rights violations continue, allegedly committed by members of the security forces,” Gilmore said. “The conditions conducive for refugee return simply do not exist.”

Rohingya refugees
Rohingya Muslims, who crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, wade past a waterlogged path leading to the Jamtoli refugee camp in Ukhiya, Bangladesh. VOA

Security forces attacked and burned Rohingya homes and shops in several townships in May, Gilmore reported. She said her office has received reports of disappearances, and of people being subjected to torture and other forms of abuse in detention.

In addition, she said, Rohingya Muslims are denied basic services to health, education and jobs, and many have been stripped of their property and identity papers, essentially rendering them stateless.

Gilmore called on the Myanmar government to reverse this situation and to end the statelessness of the Rohingya. She said it is unlikely the refugees will return to their place of origin until their citizenship status is recognized.

Reaction in Myanmar

Myanmar’s Ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva, Kyaw Moe Tun, says human rights awareness is promoted throughout his country. He called the U.N. report misleading, incomplete and full of unverified allegations that distort the truth.

Rohingya refugees
Displaced Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine. Wikimedia Commons

The repatriation process must begin as soon as possible to resolve the humanitarian situation, he said, adding that Myanmar has been ready to receive people since January 2018, when his country and Bangladesh signed a repatriation agreement.

ALSO READ: Cutoff of Internet Service at Rakhine, Chin States Creates Difficulty for Civilians who Cannot Access Donors Online to Make Aid Requests

Myanmar has presented Bangladesh with a list of more than 1,200 verified displaced persons who repeatedly expressed their desire to return, he said.

Earlier this year, Bangladesh’s Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque told the U.N. Security Council “not a single Rohingya has volunteered to return to Rakhine due to the absence of conducive environment there.” (VOA)