Aid group warns of difficulties treating victims of Myanmar violence

A Rohingya woman and her child wait for medical care outside a clinic in the Bawdupha camp, Sittwe on November 2, 2012.

The aid organization Doctors Without Borders has warned that its workers on the ground in western Myanmar are finding it harder and harder to treat victims of recent violence that has inflamed tensions between Buddhist and Muslim communities in the region.

Clashes between the two communities in Myanmar's Rakhine state have killed 89 people and displaced more than 35,000 others in recent weeks, the United Nations said in its most recent report on the situation, citing government figures.

What's behind sectarian violence in Myanmar?

"Ongoing animosity" in the area, some of it directed at aid groups, "makes it increasingly difficult to support the Ministry of Health to run already overstretched clinics and reach out to newly displaced communities," Doctors Without Borders said in a statement.

Rights groups have said that the Rohingya, an ethnic Muslim people who live in Rakhine but aren't recognized as citizens by Myanmar authorities, are bearing the brunt of the violence.

"That we are prevented from acting and threatened for wanting to deliver medical aid to those in need is shocking and leaves tens of thousands without the medical care they urgently need," said Joe Belliveau, the operations manager of Doctors Without Borders.

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