Ambassador of Japan Observes the Impact of Japanese Contributions in Rakhine State

Jan 23, 2014

H.E. U Thar Lu Chay, Rakhine State Agriculture and Livestock Minister and H.E. Mikio Numata, Japanese Ambassador to Myanmar, had an opportunity to see some economic recovery and social cohesion projects implemented by UNDP. Photo: UNHCR/Medea Savary

SITTWE – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and World Food Programme (WFP) had the opportunity to introduce His Excellency Mikio Numata, Japanese Ambassador to the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, to the activities implemented by the agencies in Rakhine State from 20 to 22 January 2014.

Ambassador Numata was accompanied by UNDP Country Director Toily Kurbanov, WFP Country Director and Representative Dom Scalpelli and UNHCR Representative a.i. Ayaki Ito. The objective of the Ambassador’s visit was to review the impact achieved by the Japanese funding for relief, recovery and development assistance in Rakhine State. The three UN agencies received a total of JPY 3.9 billion (equivalent of US$40.8 million) from the Government of Japan in March 2013, in support of activities undertaken in ethnic/border areas of Myanmar.

In Rakhine State, there are some 140,000 internally displaced persons (IDP) who are displaced as a result of the inter-communal violence that occurred in June and October 2012 and require humanitarian assistance.  Additionally, Rakhine State ranks in second position in terms of overall poverty with 44% people living below the poverty line as compared to national average of 25%, underlining the need for development support.The United Nations and its partners have been providing support to the Government of Myanmar in responding to the humanitarian, recovery and development needs in Rakhine State.

The Ambassador visited Set Yoe Kya camp in Sittwe Town, Baw Du Pha camp in Rural Sittwe, and Sin Tet Maw camp and village in Pauktaw Township. UNHCR provides shelter and non-food items and WFP provides life-saving food assistance to the displaced people. In Sin Tet Maw village, the Ambassador also had an opportunity to see some economic recovery and social cohesion projects implemented by UNDP with the objective to encourage peaceful co-existence between Muslim and Rakhine communities as well as recover and improve livelihoods of conflict affected and poor people. In Sin Tet Maw IDP camp, Ambassador Numata met with the victims of a recent fire incident destroying some 30 shelters and affecting over 500 displaced persons.

In Baw Du Pha IDP camp, Ambassador Numata met with some fifty women, members of a women group. “I was very moved to see how powerful these women are, despite they have so little and the very difficult conditions in which they live everyday”, said the Ambassador.

After the site visit, Ambassador Numata and the three Heads of UN Agencies met with the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock breeding, the Minister of Electric Power and Industry, the Minister of Transport, and the Secretary of Rakhine State. During the meeting, the Ambassador mentioned his commitment in supporting the work of the United Nations assisting the Government of Myanmar in Rakhine State. He also stressed the need for the Government to share the Master Plan for Rakhine State, and emphasized the importance of transparency and information disclosure.

For further information contact:

Nyi Nyi Aung - Communications Analyst, UNDP Myanmar / nyi.nyi.aung@undp.org / + 95 1 542910~19 

Medea Savary - Associate Public Information Officer, UNHCR Myanmar / savary@unhcr.org / +95 944 802 7892

Daniela Demel - Reports Officer, WFP Myanmar / daniela.demel@wfp.org / +95 1 230 5971~6 Ext:2421

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