The already dire humanitarian situation in Myanmar has worsened since last year’s military takeover.
The coup d’état has plunged the country into social and economic turmoil, leading to a rapid deterioration of the security situation. Fighting between anti-coup militias and the Myanmar armed forces continues regularly across the country.
Myanmar is also one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries, exposed to multiple hazards, including floods, cyclones and earthquakes.
What are the needs?
The United Nations estimates that more than 14.4 million people require humanitarian assistance this year, including those in protracted displacement in the conflict-torn states of Rakhine, Kachin, and Shan. This represents a 14-fold increase compared to 2021 and across a much larger geographic area.
There are currently around 937,000 internally displaced people in the country. The military coup and intensified armed clashes have led to a stark increase in numbers of internally displaced people.
More than 1,850 people have been killed amid protests and civil unrest, and over 13,700 arrested following the coup. Basic social services are disrupted, and Myanmar is experiencing shortages of essential goods, such as medical supplies and equipment.
The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed the already fragile healthcare system to the brink of collapse.
Since 2017, violence in northern Rakhine state forced more than 745,000 ethnic Rohingya people to flee to Bangladesh. From across the country, 919,000 Rohingya people have fled to Bangladesh.
Approximately 600,000 stateless Rohingya people remain in Rakhine, of whom 144,000 have been confined to camps since 2012. They are deprived of basic rights, including freedom of movement and access to livelihoods.
Restricted access, coupled with strict COVID-19 preventative measures continue to pose significant challenges and have severely hampered the delivery of much-needed humanitarian aid in the area.
How are we helping?
In 2022, the EU allocated more than €27 million in humanitarian aid funding to address the immediate needs of the most vulnerable, including displaced and conflict-affected communities.
The funding helps provide (i) food and nutrition, (ii) clean water and sanitation, (iii) emergency preparedness/response, (iv) health, (v) education, as well as (vi) protection, including mine education to those affected by conflict.
The upsurge in violence results in large-scale population displacements across the country. The EU responds to the most acute needs, including refugees seeking shelter in neighbouring countries and the wider region.
Part of our humanitarian funding supports Myanmar’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The EU supports the provision of medical supplies and equipment, emergency referrals of displaced people and patients in pandemic-affected communities.
EU humanitarian funding is provided in line with the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality, and independence and is channelled directly through humanitarian organisations. The EU does not provide any humanitarian funding through government services.
The EU has also responded to many natural hazards in Myanmar over the past 2 decades. In mid-2020, the EU channelled €85,000 to support those affected by a deadly landslide in a jade mining community in northern Kachin.
The funding covered search and rescue efforts and first aid and psychological support to those affected. We provided cash grants to vulnerable families that lost their main breadwinners.
Another priority is disaster preparedness, focused on increasing the resilience of communities that face recurrent natural hazards. Since 2010, the EU has allocated €16.65 million to coastal flood-prone areas and earthquake-prone urban areas.
The EU has provided humanitarian aid in Myanmar since 1994. We have funded emergency relief programmes to assist victims of both conflict and natural hazards, with total funding of €315 million.
Since 2013, we also provided €8.65 million for emergency education to conflict-affected children, including €1.4 million in 2021.
Last updated: 20/05//2022
Picture: © Kaung Hter / IRC
Facts & figures
14.4 million people need humanitarian assistance
More than 937,000 internally displaced people
919,000 Rohingya people fled into Bangladesh
EU humanitarian funding:
€27 million in 2022
€315 million since 1994