Although the figures are likely to increase, as of Sunday 28,000 people have been displaced and up to 86 people killed, according to the latest reports from Rakhine State.
More than 4,600 houses and several religious buildings have been destroyed in the unrest, said a report released on Sunday by United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
The report said sectarian tensions in the area increased after monks, women groups and youth groups organized anti-Rohingya and anti-Organization of Islamic Council demonstrations in Sittwe, Mandalay and Rangoon.
Expressions of anti-Muslim sentiments have also been recorded in other regions, including Kayin, Mon states and Mandalay.
The reported noted that since the start of the crisis, President Thein Sein said that unless the situation is under control, it “could deteriorate further and could extend beyond Rakhine State” and could “damage stability, democratization process and national development of our country in transition period.”
In an announcement on Oct. 25, the president highlighted that “the resurging conflict can impact the dignity and interest of the state and the citizen. …There are individuals and organizations that are behind the resurgence of the violence, and effective action will be taken against those in accordance with the existing laws.”
The report said strong anti-UN and NGO feeling has been fueled by some elements in Rakhine State. Several pamphlets have been distributed and threats have been articulated against the entire humanitarian community, it said.
In some cases, specific aid partners were told that relief operations have been and continue to be biased, said the report. As a result, some assessment teams have been denied access to locations where people are displaced or relief supplies, including that of the government, have been refused.
Doctors without Borders’ efforts to engage with community leaders to open a clinic for HIV-positive patients in Sittwe was eventually postponed when a protest occurred the day before the opening in front of the clinic, said the report.
The government is leading relief efforts but aid partners are still facing difficulties in reaching vulnerable people to provide urgently needed assistance, it said.
For a copy of the full report, go to http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/Full%20Report_1075.pdf