Six months after coup, political, rights and aid crisis in Myanmar deepens

Speaking to UN News, the organization’s top humanitarian aid official in Myanmar, Humanitarian Coordinator and Acting Resident Ramanathan Balakrishnan, described how people have been severely affected across the country since the takeover. power of the junta on February 1.

“The situation in the country is now characterized by instability and deterioration of the socio-economic and security situation and to add to this we have a third wave of COVID-19 raging,” Balakrishnan said in a statement. exclusive interview.

Emphasizing the continued nature of armed resistance to state security forces “in several ethnic minority areas,” including Shan, Chin and Kachin states, the UN official said more than 200,000 people had been uprooted there to this day.

Displacement swelling

In Rakhine State before the coup, the UN humanitarian response plan indicated that a million people, including internally displaced people, were in urgent need of assistance, but “that number has only increased,” Balakrishnan insisted.

More broadly, “as a result of the coup, two million more were identified as in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, and these were largely located in the urban areas of Yangon and Mandalay,” he said. – he declared, adding that the intensification of the clashes and the worsening of the socio-economic situation – the economic situation was pushing every day “tens of thousands of people” in a humanitarian space “.

Echoing concerns over human rights violations by the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF and others, Mr. Balakrishnan condemned the continued and widespread use of lethal force by the military against civilian demonstrators.

Hunger rising

Going forward, the UN’s priorities include ensuring that millions of people do not fall further into hunger, the aid official said. “There has been an increase in the price of basic commodities for many people… it has also resulted in a reduction in the nutritional value of the food basket that people usually take as they replace their usual food with cheaper and easier items. available. . “

As for Myanmar’s healthcare system, which is under extreme pressure from the coronavirus crisis, as well as attacks on medical staff and facilities in Myanmar – and a civil disobedience movement by some healthcare professionals – Mr Balakrishnan warned that even basic services had been disrupted across the country.

Alongside the Burmese people

In a message of solidarity, the senior aid official insisted that the UN remains determined to respect the will of the people of the country.

This despite limited access to parts of the country due to security concerns and disruptions in the banking system, which limited the UN’s ability to transfer funds to humanitarian partners responsible for delivering aid. .

The United Nations will continue to denounce human rights violations and is committed to staying and providing life-saving humanitarian assistance to the people of Myanmar., in addition to sending the COVID-19 response, “Balakrishnan said.

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