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A record million people are now internally displaced in Myanmar, says UN report

By on June 14, 2022 0

A record one million men, women and children are now displaced inside Myanmar, according to the United Nations.

Of this unprecedented figure, nearly 700,000 were displaced after February 2021, when Myanmar the military took control after the landslide victory of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party. Peaceful protests against the brutal coup were initially suppressed with lethal force, with heightened conflict and insecurity continuing a year and a half later.

Among those displaced are members of the Muslim Rohingya ethnic group – who have been killed, raped and targeted in the country for decades – as well as people affected by conflict along international borders with China and Thailand.

“An estimated 40,200 people have crossed the borders of neighboring countries since the takeover,” the UN said in its report on the situation. hostilities, although the figures are difficult to verify.

The UN added: “The impact on civilians is worsening day by day with frequent indiscriminate attacks.”

The rising cost of living and the monsoon season are exacerbating the ongoing conflict in the country.

According to the report, intense storms and heavy rains are damaging shelters and disproportionately affecting those already in need in Rakhine, Kachin, Shan and Kayin states. At the same time, the cost of food and fuel has skyrocketed, becoming a “major concern for partners to meet the needs of the most vulnerable”.

“On average, in mid-April 2022, fuel prices are almost two and a half times higher than in February 2021,” the UN wrote. “Preparedness efforts by humanitarian actors and de facto authorities have been underway since the first quarter of 2022. Additional funding is essential to ensure effective responses to large-scale natural disasters.

Leaders of the global humanitarian sector have now urged the international community to respond generously.

The country’s humanitarian response plan – dedicated to saving the lives and well-being of people affected by conflict – has only reached 10% of its funding target for 2022, leaving a shortfall of $740 million. If the remaining funds are not disbursed, the UN warns that humanitarian partners will be “forced to reduce their support at a time when aid is most needed”.

Since 2021, the military has blocked vital foreign aid from reaching organizations on the ground.

Countries like Australia, New Zealand and the United States, meanwhile, have expressed a strong desire not to see aid end up in the hands of the national military, causing delays and disorder. as donors struggle to restore long-held government-controlled aid programs. .

“We believe that NGOs play a vital role in providing assistance and services in these difficult times,” read a 2021 joint statement from the country’s humanitarian actors, including Oxfam and Save the Children. “We call on all competent authorities to guarantee humanitarian access for national and international actors.

A report at the time suggested that the coup, along with COVID-19, could plunge half of Myanmar’s citizens into extreme poverty.