Myanmar’s humanitarian needs increase as conflict continues: UN

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Humanitarian needs in Myanmar were increasing as the conflict continues, particularly in the country’s southeast and northwest regions, a UN spokesman said.

There are 889,900 displaced people, including 370,000 already displaced before the military coup was declared on February 1, said Stephane Dujarric, the chief spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Humanitarian needs are growing. But access to people in need remains limited, hampering the planned scale-up of humanitarian assistance in 2022, Xinhua news agency quoted Dujarric as saying.

“Clashes, road blockages and military checkpoints limit our access to areas where needs are critical.”

The demand for support to people in need exceeds the capacity to respond. But the UN and partners are continuing to provide food, water, warm clothes, blankets, and mosquito nets, as well as hygiene kits and Covid-19 prevention items, he said.

The spokesman also noted that UN and partners also provide protection services to displaced people and communities in conflict areas across the country.

He urged all parties to respect international humanitarian law to protect civilians and ensure people in need have access to humanitarian aid.

The UN’s 2022 humanitarian response plan for Myanmar, which seeks $826 million, is only 6 per cent funded, Dujarric said.

“We urge donors to give generously in solidarity with the people of Myanmar.”

Since the coup overthrew the democratically elected government and the subsequent arrest of leaders, including State Councillor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint, there have been widespread protests, armed resistance and mass killings in Myanmar.

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), a non-profit, says 1,503 people have been killed since the military regime came to power.

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