Asia

Responding to Myanmar's displaced

Updated 5:19 AM ET, Thu January 17, 2013
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camp Myanmarcamp Myanmar
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Ma Hnin Yee, 53, has been living in West Sanpya camp with her five children since her house was burned down. "I lost everything in the fire," she said. "I didn't bring anything. The whole family had to flee for our lives. I have no idea if I will ever be able to go home." Courtesy IFRC/Andreas Weissenberg
Red Cross volunteer Tin Tin Wae measures chlorine powder for drinking water that will be distributed to camps where displaced people are now living in Rakhine state. Courtesy IFRC/Becky Webb
"Lives have been torn apart by the intercommunal violence in both ethnic Rakhine and Muslim communities," said U Khin Maung Hla, Secretary General of the Myanmar Red Cross. Because of ongoing tensions, displacement camps in Rakhine state separately house families from the two communities. Courtesy IFRC/Andreas Weissenberg
With thousands of families living in tents and makeshift shelters, providing improved shelter is a humanitarian priority. Workers recruited both from the camps and nearby villages are constructing "long houses," each of which will house eight or 10 families, as temporary shelters in the camps. Courtesy IFRC/Andreas Weissenberg
Myanmar Red Cross will support the construction of up to 160 temporary shelters, like this bamboo one, in the coming months with support from National Societies in the Red Cross Movement. Courtesy IFRC/Andreas Weissenberg
Thida, 23, and her family have been living in Say Thamar Gyi camp for seven months after her home and her shop were burned down during the violence. "I cannot go back," she said. "I'm in big trouble, as I have no job here, and I want to send my children to school, but there is no school." Courtesy IFRC/Andreas Weissenberg
Faranarli, 14, visits the Red Cross clinic in the camp Courtesy IFRC/Becky Webb
Without clean water and toilets in the camps, disease could quickly spread amid cramped living conditions. The Red Cross is distributing over 8,000 liters of drinking water every day to camps that house families from both communities. Courtesy IFRC/Andreas Weissenberg
The Red Cross has built toilets and wells in camps to help meet some of the basic water and sanitation needs. Courtesy IFRC/Andreas Weissenberg
In the displacement camps in Rakhine, health problems are a concern. The Red Cross provides basic health support in more than 10 camp clinics, working in collaboration with the health ministry. Courtesy IFRC/Andreas Weissenberg
To help respond to the increased needs in Rakhine, Red Cross volunteers have been drafted in from around the country. "The main thing is helping other people. That is what makes me happy," said U Tun Shwe, 59, from Kachin state. "As a Red Cross volunteer there is no discrimination between race or religion, so I will help everyone who needs us." Courtesy IFRC/Andreas Weissenberg