REC announce total IDPs in Rakhine approaching 200,000

Shin Min Zan

Narinjara News, 11 July 2020

The Rakhine Ethnic Congress (REC) announced on July 7 that the total number of people displaced by the conflict in Rakhine state is approaching 200,000.

According to the REC announcement, there are 190,708 people displaced in Rakhine state, with 62,137 people (15,566 households) living in camps, with 27,530 males and 34,607 females.

Amongst the 62,136 people living in camps, 2513 are in Ponnarkyun township; 11,495 in Kyauktaw; 17,383 in Mrauk Oo; 2150 in Minbya; 2,357 in Myebon; 1,443 in Ann; 311 in Kyuakphyu; 9,754 in Rathedaung; 8,821 in Buthidaung; 5,316 in Sittwe and 594 in Paukdaw.

According to the announcement there are 128,571 displaced people living outside the IDP camps and not included in the camp population, staying with relatives or in other villages.

There are 5,773 displaced people staying outside the camps in Ponnagyun Township; 14,486 in Kyauktaw; 13,858 in Mrauk Oo, 16,227 in Minbya; 6,246 in Myebon; 10,119 in Ann; 37,003 in Rathedaung; 2,003 in Buthidaung; 2,621 in Sittwe and 2,199 in Pauktaw.

Half of those displaced are staying in the main towns or in surrounding villages and only about half receives albeit limited support, according to the REC.

“In some IDP camps there is simply not enough space. In camps which do have space, living conditions are inadequate. Some have moved into the quarters in the main towns. Some have gone to stay with close relatives. Some are trying to get back to their villages. Will it be safe for them to return to their villages? People continue to be displaced from their villages. They flee then return to their homes and they have no fixed or permanent place to live, and this is even more difficult for them during the rainy season” according to U Zaw Zaw Tun, the REC’s general secretary.

The total number of IDPs has risen to approach 200,000 after they announced that clearance operations would be conducted in Rathedaung’s Kyauktan and surrounding area, he said. However soon later the governments withdrew the announcement of clearance operations after many criticisms came out.  

According to the previous announcement made by the REC on June 8 there were over 160,000 IDPs, meaning the total has increased by over 30,000.

The number of IDPs in Rakhine has increased day by day since fighting erupted in November 2018.

He pointed out that while civil society and other social organizations are providing essential assistance to support the IDPs, government support has been weak.