Aid workers have warned of an impending humanitarian catastrophe in western Burma as authorities attempt to isolate tens of thousands of the displaced ethnic Rohingya minority in camps described by one aid worker as "open air prisons".
Aid has struggled to reach those affected by sectarian unrest in early June, as abusive treatment by Burmese authorities continues. The UN announced on Friday that 10 aid workers in Arakan state had been arrested, five of whom were UN staff. Some have been charged, although the details remain unclear.
Rates of malnutrition among the Muslim Rohingya, who have borne the brunt of emergency measures implemented in the wake of fierce rioting in early June between the minority group and the majority Arakanese, are said to be "alarming". The vast majority of aid workers assisting the Rohingya in Arakan have been either evacuated or forced to flee in recent weeks.
"We are worried that malnutrition rates already have and will continue to rise dramatically; if free and direct humanitarian access accompanied by guaranteed security is not granted with the shortest delay, there's no way they won't rise," said Tarik Kadir of Action Against Hunger.