Myanmar agrees to resumption of food aid to Rohingya, Buddhists in violence-hit Rakhine state

Rohingya Muslim refugees wait inside a government-run family planning centre in the Bangladeshi town of Palongkhali on Oct 24, 2017.
Rohingya Muslim refugees wait inside a government-run family planning centre in the Bangladeshi town of Palongkhali on Oct 24, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

GENEVA (REUTERS) - Myanmar authorities have agreed to allow the United Nations to resume distribution of food in northern Rakhine state, which was suspended for two months, the World Food Programme (WFP) said on Friday (Oct 27).

The WFP was previously distributing food rations to 110,000 people in northern Rakhine state - to both Buddhist and Rohingya communities.

Rohingya insurgent attacks on police stations triggered an army crackdown, that the United Nations has called "ethnic cleansing", and UN humanitarian agencies have not been able to access northern Rakhine to deliver aid since then.

"WFP has been given the green light to resume food assistance operations in northern part of Rakhine. We are working with the government to coordinate the details," WFP spokeswoman Bettina Luescher told journalists in Geneva.

She had no timeline or details on the proposed distribution of rations to members of the Muslim Rohingya minority still living in northern Rakhine, and said it was still being discussed with the authorities in Myanmar.

"We just have to see what the situation on the ground is. It's very hard to say these things if you can't get in,"Ms Luescher said.