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Cyclone set to hit Myanmar - could be devastating for people displaced by ethnic violence

13th May 2013

Oxfam is deeply concerned by the potential impact of approaching Cyclone Mahasen on vulnerable communities already displaced by ongoing ethnic conflict in Rakhine area of Myanmar. 

Cyclone Mahasen is expected to hit land around the border of Northern Rakhine and Bangladesh as early as Tuesday 14 May, and is likely to bring heavy rains and flash flooding on communities already displaced by ethnic violence. 

 "There are up to 140,000 people displaced from the ongoing ethnic conflict in Rakhine and all of them are already vulnerable. Many of them are in inadequate shelter, in camps in unsuitable locations at risk of flooding as soon as the monsoon season commences. The potential impact of the Cyclone could vastly increase this risk." said Jane Lonsdale, Acting Country Director for Oxfam in Myanmar.   

"It is vital that the government takes swift action to ensure all communities including those that are currently displaced are in safe locations in preparation for the potential impact of the Cyclone." Lonsdale said. "We also need to see commitment from the international community to be ready to make available rapid emergency funding appropriate to the scale of the needs." 

For information: Oxfam in Myanmar has been working with local partners and local authorities to provide a humanitarian response on water, sanitation and hygiene to people in three camps in the Kyawphyu area of Rakhine (Kan Nyin Taw, Kyauk Ta Lone and Ramree) since January 2013.