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Myanmar Agrees to Allow UN Food Distribution Operations

  • VOA News

An Oct. 5, 2017 image taken from a video released by Arakan Rohingya National Organization shows villagers preparing to cross a river towards the Maungdaw township in the Rakhine state that borders Bangladesh.

The United Nations said Friday the Myanmar government has agreed to allow it to resume its food distribution operations in northern Rakhine State after a two-month suspension.

The agreement was announced as the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund reported that Rohingya children fleeing into Bangladesh were "close to death" from malnutrition.

Bettina Luescher, spokeswoman for the World Food Program (WFP), the food assistance branch of the U.N., said the timing and extent of the resumption are still being discussed with Myanmar authorities.

The WFP suspended operations after Myanmar's security forces began targeting the Rohingya after Rohingya militant attacks on police stations on August 25.

Before the suspension, the WFP distributed food rations to 110,000 people in northern Rakhine State -- including to ethnic Rakhine and Rohingya communities. Food has continued to be delivered to 140,000 people in central Rakhine.

The International Organization for Migration estimates more than 600,000 Rohingya refugees have fled to Bangladesh since the crackdown by security forces began, increasing the total to nearly 820,000.

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