MYANMAR – A tropical cyclone in the Andaman Sea is headed close to an area in Myanmar where tens of thousands of victims of ethnic and religious violence are living in makeshift camps, adding urgency to fears of what the United Nations has termed a looming “humanitarian catastrophe” for displaced families. Of the more than 130,000 people forced to flee their homes in rioting between Buddhists and Muslims over the last year in western Myanmar, around half are living in low-lying camps near the sea, the United Nations says. Human rights organizations have issued repeated warnings that the displaced people are at risk of disease and hunger during the rainy season, which begins this month and continues until around September. “We’re definitely very concerned,” said Vivian Tan, a spokesperson for the UNHCR, the United Nations refugee agency. “We are working around the clock, trying to get as many people out of low-lying areas and into decent shelters.” Projections on Saturday by the United States Navy Marine Meteorology Division estimated that the cyclone would reach land around Wednesday. According to the same calculations, the center of the storm will be just south of Chittagong, a major city in Bangladesh, and rain and strong winds would also hit areas in Myanmar’s Rakhine state where the camps are located. Although the storm could change direction or lessen in intensity, aid groups say even heavy rains would create very difficult conditions for the displaced families who are camped out in muddy fields vulnerable to tidal surges. Myanmar is prone to violent tropical storms. A cyclone in 2008 killed more than 150,000 people in the country’s Irrawaddy river delta. Another storm in 2010 in western Myanmar – roughly the same areas as those under threat now — displaced tens of thousands and killed more than 100 people. The vast majority of those displaced by religious violence in western Myanmar are Muslims who call themselves Rohingya, a group not recognized by the Burmese government and denied citizenship. Continued deep hostility toward the Rohingya by the local Buddhist population has prevented their return to their homes or resettlement in other areas. The Irrawaddy, an online news site, reported last week that the Rakhine state government in April backed down from a plan to resettle Muslims after Buddhist villagers objected. Aid groups say they have been hindered from delivering aid because of threats by Buddhists.