UN food agency, World Food Programme (WFP) has said, there is an increased food insecurity in Myanmar due to a combination of the current political crisis, poverty, displacement and economic destruction of the Covid-19 pandemic. During 2021, the UN agency intensified its campaigns to help approximately 2.4 million people. It helped one million people in 2020. In 2022, WFP plans to double the scope of its aid programmes, covering over 4 million people.
Thousands of Myanmar villagers have been forced to live under makeshift tents alongside a river that borders Thailand, fearful of returning to homes they said had been bombarded by military air raids, but reluctant to seek refuge across the frontier.
Heavy fighting between the Myanmar military, which seized power in a coup last year, and resistance fighters has killed or displaced thousands of civilians in this region and elsewhere.
International organisations have been actively working in the areas to help people in distress. While basic services have been provided, people, especially children still face disease outbreaks, malnutrition, inadequate educational opportunities and the risks related to neglect, exploitation and violence including gender-based violence risks, child marriage and child labour.
According to the agency, the current crisis is the deepest humanitarian crisis in the country since the cyclone Nargis crisis in 2008. However, aid programmes still face funding crunches. With the funds received, it was possible to meet only one-third of the needs generated in 2021, as a result of which only 24 lakh people received help. However, the agency needs $62.4 million in funds to continue its aid programme over the next six months.
The World Bank estimates that Myanmar’s economy will contract by 18 percent during the current financial year. The Myanmar currency has already devalued 50 percent, and the banking sector is also facing turmoil.
Compared to January 2021, a food basket has seen a 30 per cent jump in prices, while fuel prices have risen between 59 and 82 per cent.
In the struggle to survive, about 90 percent of the households are forced to adopt coping strategies in which they are borrowing to buy food items, and spending their savings.