Alwaght- Over 80,000 Muslim children under the age of five living in western Myanmar are “wasting” and will need treatment for acute malnutrition over the next year, the World Food Programme has warned.
The report from the United Nations agency was based on an assessment of villages in western Rakhine state, where some 75,000 stateless Muslim Rohingya people have fled a bloody army crackdown.
According to WFP spokesperson in Myanmar, the “wasting” condition, which is a rapid weight lose that can become fatal, impairs the functioning of the immune system.
“Based on the household hunger scale, about 38,000 households corresponding to 225,800 people are suffering from hunger and are in need of humanitarian assistance,” said the report.
The agency warned that “households with children under the age of five,” and those that composed of only one female adult, had the highest frequency of episodes of severe hunger.
“The survey has confirmed a worsening of the food security situation in already highly vulnerable areas following the security incidents and ensuing violence in late 2016,” the WFP report said.
The United Nations has established a fact-finding mission to investigate crimes against humanity committed by Myanmar's military during renewed brutal crackdown against Muslims which started last October.
The country’s de-facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, who was awarded the Nobel peace prize in 1991, has been criticized by more than a dozen fellow laureates for the armed response. They wrote an open letter to the UN Security Council warning of a tragedy “amounting to ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity” in Rakhine state.
Rakhine State in west Myanmar has seen the most serious violence perpetrated against Muslims in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar since the military began to end its decades of strict rule. Reports indicate that thousands of Rohingya Muslims killed and hundreds of thousands displaced there in attacks by government forces and extremists Buddhists since in 2012 in what appears to be a deliberate state-backed policy of ethnic cleansing.
According to the UN, the Rohingya Muslims are one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.