Burma: EU boosts humanitarian support, calls for greater access to Rakhine
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Burma: EU boosts humanitarian support, calls for greater access to Rakhine

EUROPE’s government has announced an additional €12 million (US$13.3 million) for its humanitarian assistance program in Burma (Myanmar) and called for greater access to troubled Rakhine State after an official visit.

The visit by Christos Stylianides, the EU’s Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, is the first by a commissioner from the regional bloc to the troubled northern Rakhine State. According to a statement, he observed “pressing humanitarian needs” in the region.

“The European Union is committed to supporting those in need in Burma,” he said. “During my visit I saw that malnutrition rates have deteriorated after the recent crisis.”

SEE ALSO: Burma: Red Cross calls on govt to allow aid workers to access Rohingya

Emphasising the need for Burma to allow proper access for aid organisations to the Rakhine to deliver an effective response, Stylianides said: “It is particularly important to help Rohingya civilians who have suffered involuntary displacements as well as supporting their livelihoods.”

The EU’s call adds to a growing chorus of organisations urging Burma’s government to allow them to enter Rakhine State, including the International Committee of the Red Cross earlier this month.

Since October last year the military has led a crackdown in the state after a deadly assault on three border guard posts. The UN has claimed that more than 1,000 Rohingya have been killed in the army’s operations in Rakhine, and at least 70,000 Rohingya have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh.

The government has also suspended humanitarian activities in the region, and the EU claims 130,000 people who were dependent on aid remain without assistance.

Since 1994, the European Commission has provided €229 million (US$254 million) in humanitarian aid to Burma.