International aid workers say Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar’s crowded refugee camps are in desperate need of food and medical aid.
Volunteer workers from Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said on Thursday that at least eight people have died and 31 babies have been delivered under unsanitary conditions since the beginning of the year.
The critical situation has particularly hit women and children.
“We tried to send a pregnant woman to another village past the hill that has a doctor, but she died,” media outlets quoted an MSF local volunteer as saying.
Reports say hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar are suffering from severe shortage of food and drinking water. Humanitarian aid deliveries have slowed down in Rakhine state as a result of an escalation in sectarian violence.
Several aid organizations have recently warned that there are “high rates of chronic malnutrition in the camps” and “children are at particular risk.”
Hundreds of international aid workers were evacuated from Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine state, after UN-run warehouses were attacked on March 27.
The United Nations has called on Myanmar to help aid workers return to Rakhine state, which has been torn by violence in recent years.
Myanmar says aid groups who return will be required to report activities in advance to a newly-established body comprising state and central government officials.
Hundreds of Rohingya Muslims have been killed and wounded in months of increased sectarian violence in the country. Thousands of others have been forced to flee their homes.
The Myanmar government has been repeatedly criticized by human rights groups for failing to protect the Muslims.
According to the UN, the Rohingya Muslims are one of the world’s most persecuted communities.