Aid groups call on Myanmar for access to Rakhine state


International aid organizations on Thursday urged authorities in Myanmar to allow them access to the western Rakhine state where a humanitarian crisis is broiling.

In a joint statement, 18 aid organizations including Oxfam and Save the Children said: "We urge the government and authorities in Myanmar to ensure that all people in need in Rakhine State have full, free and unimpeded access to life-saving humanitarian assistance."

A military operation since Aug. 25 in Maungdaw area of Rakhine state has forced UN agencies and other groups to halt their work in the area.

The government has asked all humanitarian groups to distribute aid through the Myanmar Red Cross Society.

The statement criticized the move saying it will not be sufficient to meet the "enormous humanitarian needs across this region".

Since Aug. 25, 480,000 Rohingya have crossed from Rakhine into Bangladesh, according to the UN.

The refugees are fleeing a fresh security operation in which security forces and Buddhist mobs have killed men, women and children, looted homes and torched Rohingya villages. According to Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Abul Hasan Mahmood Ali, around 3,000 Rohingya have been killed in the crackdown.

Turkey has been at the forefront of providing aid to Rohingya refugees and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan raised the issue at the UN.

The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

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