Contextual picture linked with demonstrations in Yangon, March 2021. | © DR
Since the events of February 2021, the humanitarian situation has deeply deteriorated in Myanmar.
Armed violence, combined with political, economic and sanitary crisis due to COVID, resulted in a serious humanitarian crisis in Myanmar, says HI Program Director in the country, Jérôme Bobin.
Today, a staggering 14.4 million people need humanitarian assistance. Compared to 1 million people at the beginning of 2021, humanitarian needs have just skyrocketed. At least, 13% of them are people with disabilities1 who are particularly exposed to violence, discrimination, lack of access to information and greater difficulties to receiving medical and humanitarian services. 2
Among the main humanitarian issues, estimations show that 48% of the population may soon live in poverty, due to the disrupted economy that led to food insecurity for a large part of the population. World Food Program estimates that 3.4 million people will require food assistance over the next six months.
Many injured people and people with disabilities cannot access immediate treatment, rehabilitation care and assistive devices, facing risks of life-long physical and psycho-social consequences.4
This last year, we have also seen a new increase in the use of landmines and explosive devices in Myanmar, causing new casualties and putting a strong threat on some communities, that were not used to live in contaminated areas, and on displaced people (IDPs) who have been forced to move due to the numerous clashes. According to UNOCHA, nearly 290 000 people have been internally displaced across Myanmar since February 2021, in addition to the 370 000 people already living in protracted displacement.
Despite the complexity of the situation and the specificities of each region, HI has kept providing early childhood development (ECD) activities in IDPs sites as well as rehabilitation services, such as physiotherapy and distribution of assistive devices.
We also have distributed non-food and food items to vulnerable communities, and Mental Health and Psychosocial support (MHPSS) to people affected by both the COVID pandemic and the security crisis.
We adapted our Explosive Ordnance Risk Education (EORE) activities to reach and inform communities at risk and we pursued our Victim Assistance for survivors of landmines, with some livelihood support.
Initiated under the first wave of COVID in Myanmar, we contributed to the development and adaptation of teaching tools and technics to make sure that children with disabilities had access to education.
As part of a long lasting multi-stakeholders disaster preparedness project, HI was also able to support its partners in the provision of emergency medical assistance and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) related to COVID.
Finally, we worked closely with local and international partners, as well as donors, to promote the inclusion of persons with disabilities in their global humanitarian assistance and to enhance the accessibility of installations and services.