WFP getting aid into Rakhine state

Nov. 7, 2012 at 10:04 AM

GENEVA, Switzerland, Nov. 7 (UPI) -- A U.N. relief agency said it expected to be able to deliver, by boat, food assistance to thousands of people affected by violence in western Myanmar.

The United Nations estimates that at least 89 people were killed and another 35,000 more were displaced by violence pitting Muslims against Buddhists in the coastal state of Rakhine.

The United Nations' World Food Program said, in a statement from Geneva, it was in the process of delivering food aid to more than 27,000 people affected by the violence.

WFP said it expects to reach as many as 35,000 people displaced by the violence at some point this week. Food supplies, however, were dispatched by boat "as this was the most practical way of reaching most of the affected populations."

Human Rights Watch, in a report following the onset of the violence in late October, suggested Muslims in the area were the target of violence discrimination.

Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at the rights group, said the government in Myanmar needs to take steps to ensure the community is safe.

"Unless the authorities also start addressing the root causes of the violence, it is only likely to get worse," he said in a statement.

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