Women and children bearing brunt of Myanmar failing statehood

A bloody coup d’etat in Myanmar (Burma) that began on 1 February 2021 coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic is slamming the health and welfare of Myanmar’s women and children, says a UN report released at the end of the week on Friday.

‘More than half the country faces dire poverty’, by the end of the year, ‘reversing sixteen years of gains’ in the country, says the report.

News story by: Melissa Hemingway and Micheal John
Background reading: Myanmar has collapsed internally and nears failed-state status

Define Failed State. “Common characteristics of failed states include ongoing civil violence, corruption, crime, poverty, illiteracy, and crumbling infrastructure,” suggests

“Women and children are expected to bear the heaviest brunt of the combined impact of COVID-19 and the political crisis. The effects of COVID-19, amplified by the effects of the overthrow of the civilian government, are likely to lead to a disproportionate increase in urban poverty,” says a  UNDP Poverty Impact on Myanmar report.

“This is related to the fact that urban areas, where most of the income-generating activities of the near poor are, have been ground zero for the pandemic and the focus of the most severe crackdowns,” continues the report.

“Child poverty is expected to remain high, with more than half of children living in poverty in the pessimistic scenario. This will further exacerbate the intergenerational transmission of poverty, which, coupled with potential school closures, may have a devastating impact on the human capital of the next generation,” notes the UN report.

“Finally, the compounded shock is  likely to affect women (with female-headed households more likely to be poor at the outset). This is largely due to the types and sectors of female employment in Myanmar. This amplification of the pre-existing vulnerabilities will undoubtedly have significant impacts on household income and well-being, and on access to and benefits gained from social services, particularly in health and education.” Read the Full UN Report: UNDP-RBAP-COVID-19-Coup-d-Etat-and-Poverty-Impact-on-Myanmar-2021.

Political upheaval in Myanmar is impacting women and children the most says UN report released the last days of April 2021.
File Photo Credit: Originally posted on Twitter
Art/Cropping/Enhancement: Rosa Yamamoto / Feminine-Perspective Magazine

World Food Programme Warns of growing “hunger, desperation, malnutrition” in Myanmar

“Two million people facing growing food insecurity linked to the ongoing political crisis in Myanmar are to receive nutrition assistance, amid rising hunger and desperation,” the World Food Programme (WFP) said in a statement on Thursday.

The UN agency is warning that an additional 3.4 million people will go hungry, particularly in urban centres, over and above the 2.8 million people considered to be food insecure in Myanmar prior to the 1 February 2021 coup d’etat.

“More and more poor people  lost their jobs and are unable to afford food”, said WFP Myanmar Country Director Stephen Anderson. “A concerted response is required now to alleviate immediate suffering, and to prevent an alarming deterioration in food security,” he added.

Displacement of people continues as ethnic clashes with Military Junta increase

In a statement, the UN OCHA said that 50 clashes between the Tatmadaw (Myanmar military) and the Kachin Independence Army were reported in several places in Kachin state region of Myanmar, including use of airstrikes by security forces (against civilian homes and other structures) as well as mortar shelling by both sides, displacing nearly 5,000 people and damaging homes.

The specific regional breakdowns for Kachin, the OCHA said in a humanitarian bulletin, involve, “armed clashes continuing between the Tatmadaw and the Kachin Independence Army in Bhamo, Hpakant, Momauk, Myitkyina and Tanai townships of Kachin State, resulting in civilian casualties and internal displacement.”

Kachin State hosts nearly 95,000 Internally Displaced People (IDP) in protracted IDP-camps established since 2011, reports the OCHA.

An IDP camp in northern Myanmar File Photo likely from 2018—an IDP camp in northern Myanmar
Photo Credit: Derived from the original work of UNICEF/Minzayar Oo
Art/Cropping/Enhancement: Rosa Yamamoto / Feminine-Perspective Magazine