2 December 2021 - Myanmar

MYANMAR: More than 5 million children could need life-saving aid to survive

More than 5 million children in Myanmar could require life-saving humanitarian aid to survive next year, according to an analysis of UN figures released today, equivalent to one in every three children, with access for aid agencies urgently needed, Save the Children said.

New data from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) projected that more than 14 million people in a population of 54 million in Myanmar could be in need in 2022, up from 1 million this year but with the latest assessment taking in areas previously not included.

Myanmar was among the top 10 countries listed as having the greatest need of humanitarian aid globally, just behind four countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is projected to have the most people in need next year at 27m.

Escalating conflict, ongoing political and economic turmoil and the COVID-19 pandemic have been devastating for children in Myanmar. Access to health and education is extremely limited, and millions of children are in danger of going hungry.

Some 234,000 people – including almost 87,000 children – have been forced to flee their homes since 1st February. Many of them are living in the jungle in makeshift tents without food or medicines, and aid organisations’ access to reach them is limited, Save the Children warned.  

The agency is calling for greater financial support from the international community to ensure the country’s worsening situation does not permanently impact an entire generation of Myanmar children for years to come. It also wants to see concrete steps to increase access for aid agencies, so that they can get life-saving help to those in need.

A Save the Children spokesperson said:

The situation is becoming increasingly desperate. Myanmar already had huge numbers of children living in poverty, but as families struggle to survive, millions more children are being left hungry and destitute.

“There is no question of the scale of this emergency – or that it will continue to worsen without urgent action. The only question we have is how those contributing to the crisis – and those who can make a difference – will respond.

“Funding, access for aid agencies and steps to bring peace and security to children’s lives in the coming weeks and months will be critical. Unless we act now, the number of children requiring life-saving assistance will continue to rise.”

As an independent, impartial and neutral humanitarian organisation, Save the Children is committed to responding to the rapidly deteriorating emergency in Myanmar. Along with local partners in Myanmar, it is providing food assistance and essential items to families who need it most. It provides life-saving health and nutrition services, as well as getting children back into learning and providing crucial mental health support.

Notes to the Editor:

About 37% of the population of Myanmar are children aged under 18. Of the 14.4 million people forecasted in the 2021 Humanitarian Needs Overview to be in need of humanitarian aid, more than 5 million would be children (37% ).  

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