Aid for Rakhine State, Myanmar

Media release

29 August 2012

Foreign Minister Bob Carr today announced Australia would provide $1 million in emergency aid to provide clothing, blankets and basic supplies for around 14,000 people left homeless by sectarian conflict in Rakhine State, Myanmar.

Senator Carr said continuing violence in Rakhine State had left 87 people dead and destroyed more than 5,300 homes and farms.

"Australia has taken a lead in calling on all sides to peacefully resolve Myanmar's ethnic disputes," Senator Carr said.

"And we're assisting with this emergency aid – helping with clothing, blankets and basics like mosquito nets, bedding and soap for the 14,000 people now in temporary shelters after fleeing their homes.

"Australian aid will also support families with seeds and fertiliser to replace crops destroyed in the conflict.

"Funds will be administered by CARE Australia and delivered to those in need regardless of faction or ethnic origin.

"It's what Australians do – helping families in need after wars, conflicts and natural disaster."

Senator Carr also welcomed a decision by Myanmar's Government to set up an independent commission to investigate the violence.

"I directly raised Myanmar's sectarian and ethnic tensions in talks with President Thein Sein in June, and have instructed our Ambassador to Myanmar to again pursue this with the Government," Senator Carr said.

"Australian officials in Yangon continue to monitor the situation in Rakhine State."

Australia's $1 million for clothing, blankets and basic supplies is in addition to a $7.7 million program managed by CARE Australia to improve farming families' access to land, finance and better agricultural practices in Rakhine State.

Australia has also urged the international community to renew its efforts to assist the homeless in Rakhine State with basic food and health care.

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