Emergency aid for 9000 people left homeless by violence in Rakhine State

Media release

12 July 2013

Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr today announced Australia would provide $3.2 million for emergency shelter, sanitation and safety equipment for up to 9000 people driven from their homes by ethnic and sectarian violence in Rakhine State.

Speaking from Yangon in Myanmar, Senator Carr said the commitment lifted Australia's total aid for Rakhine State to $9 million.

"My talks in Myanmar this week have included a focus on the humanitarian crisis in Rakhine State," Senator Carr said.

"It's a matter I've raised directly with Myanmar President Thein Sein, and with opposition MP Aung San Suu Kyi.

"I've outlined Australia's support for a durable long-term solution to bring Rakhine's sectarian violence to an end help these displaced families return to their homes.

"More than 140,000 people have been forced out by recent violence and are living in makeshift camps, their situation worsened by the onset of the rainy season.

"With these additional funds, we'll be working with the UN and the Myanmar Government to provide shelter for 9000 people as well as 114 clean water points and 680 latrines.

"We will also work with UNHCR to provide blankets and clothes for 2,500 women and girls in refugee camps in Rakhine, as well as solar-charged lamps and whistles to improve safety when walking in the camps after dark.

"We have also offered Australian Civilian Corps expertise to work alongside United Nations staff in Rakhine to improve the co-ordination of aid."

Australia is the largest country donor to the humanitarian crisis in Rakhine State. Australian aid is provided on the basis of need and does not discriminate between people based on ethnicity or religion.

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