Consequences of violence in Arakan

As consequences of the 2012 June and October Violence in Arakan, both Bengalis and local Arakanese (Rakhine) have lost lives, property and that means to make their livelihoods. Many people have had their homes and villages destroyed or burned down, resulting in a huge number of refugees. Local businesses that supply the farmers, the fishermen, and the local needs are not still restored to normal due to looting or destruction, difficulty getting new supplies, and/or loss of employees. And, many of these refugees would like to return to their villages and towns, but they can’t because of deep fears for the lives and safety of themselves and their families.

 

Education

Education is disrupted in many areas because schools may be damaged or destroyed, teachers may be gone because of trauma, family needs, wounds or death. In some places schools have reopened, but because of fears and trauma, some parents may not send their kids to school (especially if it’s a bit distant, or that the kids must walk through a Muslim neighborhood to get there) or the kids may be traumatized for reasons such as: their teacher was killed, their school was heavily damaged, or their classmates are dead or wounded.

Health

Health needs are many, and far greater than the inadequate number of health workers can provide. Health awareness, and the overall medical system has always been lacking in the entire country of Burma, and even more so in distant states such as Rakhine State. Therefore it is not a matter of ‘getting the system back to normal’ but bringing in and creating a new and better Medical and Health System, and through education creating more awareness of health concerns such as: HIV/AIDS awareness, narcotics education, women’s health concerns, proper hygiene and sanitation, nutrition, mental health and mental issues, misuse and dangers of pesticides, insecticides, and other toxic substances, etc.

Very little/ lack of Government Support

It is widely complained that the government support, for the Arakanese is lacking in the needs of security, rebuilding, and basic and immediate attention to health, education and work. The country, as a whole, has never yet built the systems that a country needs to function properly, to take care of the needs of the citizens, and to effectively deal with natural disasters and other unexpected calamities - especially in the outer parts of the nation. These systems being: good road networks, airports, railway systems, adequate phone infrastructure, trained disaster relief ‘army’, mobile medical systems and teams, etc. Subsequentially, the Arakanese people have to rely on Arakan political parties, Arakan social and relief organizations, and some of the international NGO’s for assistance for food and shelter.

Deep Fears of More Violence

In some parts of Arakan, especially in Buthidaung, Maungdaw and Rathaedaung townships, the minority Rakhine Buddhists are gravely concerned that there will be more attacks by the Bengalis. Rakhine people are fearful to work outside of their towns and villages, or to be out of visual sight - such as farming distant fields, fishing out in the ocean, and gathering firewood in the forest. Many Rakhine people feel threatened and targeted if they have to walk through a Bengali village or town quarter in order to get to the market, work location, or family and friends.

Neither the Rakhine State authorities nor the Burmese central government cannot give full security coverage to the Rakhine. The Rakhine living there fully know the history of Bengalis flooding into those areas and committing mass slaughter of Rakhine Buddhists such as the slaughter of 30,000 Arakanese (Rakhine) Buddhists in the historic 1942 Buthidaung-Maungdaw massacre.