The already dire humanitarian situation in Myanmar has worsened since the military takeover in 2021.
The coup d’état has plunged the country into political, social and economic turmoil, leading to a rapidly escalating civil war. Fighting between opposition forces and the Myanmar armed forces has reached unprecedented levels 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?
According to the United Nations, 17.6 million people will require humanitarian assistance in 2023, about 1/3 of the country’s population. This is also a 17-fold increase since the military takeover at the beginning of 2021 when some 1 million people required humanitarian assistance.
The coup resulted in large-scale acts of civil unrest and armed opposition, with over 2,600 people killed by the military at the end of 2022 and tens of thousands arrested.
Basic social services remain disrupted, and the country is suffering shortages of essential goods such as medical supplies and equipment. COVID-19, coupled with civil unrest and fighting, pushed the already fragile healthcare system to the brink of collapse.
In 2017, state-sponsored violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state forced more than 745,000 ethnic Rohingya people to flee into neighbouring Bangladesh. The country now hosts almost 1 million Rohingya refugees.
Meanwhile, some 600,000 stateless Rohingya remain in Rakhine, of which 144,000 have been confined to camps since 2012.
They are deprived of basic rights, including freedom of movement and access to resources and essential services. Restricted access continues to pose significant challenges and has severely hampered the delivery of humanitarian aid in the area.
How are we helping?
In 2023, the EU has so far allocated €31.5 million in humanitarian aid funding to address the immediate needs of the most vulnerable people in Myanmar, including displaced and conflict-affected communities. This includes:
- an emergency allocation of €4.5 million in July for food and health assistance to mitigate the consequences of the current funding gap.
- an additional €7 million allocation approved just before the end of the year
The funding helps to provide food, nutrition, clean water and sanitation, shelter and emergency preparedness/response, healthcare, education, as well as protection services, including mine education to those affected by conflict.
The upsurge in violence frequently results in large-scale population displacements across the country. The EU responds to the most acute needs, including to refugees seeking shelter in neighbouring countries and the wider region.
The EU does not channel any humanitarian funding through the government. EU humanitarian aid is provided directly through humanitarian organisations and partners, in line with the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence.
We also responded to multiple natural hazards in Myanmar over the past 2 decades.
In May 2023, when the devastating Cyclone Mocha slammed into Myanmar’s coastline, the EU quickly mobilised €2 million in immediate assistance to people affected by the disaster.
In mid-2020, the EU released €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, first aid and psychological support, and cash grants to vulnerable families.
Another priority is disaster preparedness, which aims to increase local populations’ capacity to withstand emergencies.
The EU has provided humanitarian aid to Myanmar since 1994, with total funding reaching €347.5 million.
We have also mobilised €10.15 million for emergency education to conflict-affected children since 2013, including €1.5 million in 2022.
Last updated: 16/11/2023
Facts & figures
17.6 million people require humanitarian assistance (Humanitarian Response Plan 2023)
More than 1.8 million internally displaced people
Nearly 1 million Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh
EU humanitarian funding:
Over €31.5 million in 2023
€347.5 million since 1994