Since the political events of February 2021, the humanitarian situation has deeply deteriorated in Myanmar. Armed violence, combined with political, economic and Covid-19 crises, has created serious humanitarian needs, says Jérôme Bobin, Humanity & Inclusion’s Program Director in Myanmar. Bobin explains the situation:
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% are people with disabilities, who are particularly exposed to violence, discrimination, lack of access to information and greater barriers to receiving medical and humanitarian services.
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 psychosocial consequences.
This last year, we have also seen an increase in the use of landmines and explosive devices in Myanmar. This is causing new casualties and putting a strong threat on some communities that were not used to live in contaminated areas, as well as on displaced people 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.
Humanity & Inclusion’s response
Despite the complexity of the situation and the specificities of each region, Humanity & Inclusion has continued providing early childhood development activities to internally displaced children, as well as rehabilitation services, such as physical therapy and distribution of assistive devices.
We also have distributed non-food and food items to communities, and provided mental health and psychosocial support to people affected by both the Covid-19 pandemic and the security crisis.
We adapted our explosive ordnance risk education activities to reach and inform communities at risk. We also continued offering assistance for survivors of landmines, with some livelihood support.
Initiated under the first wave of Covid-19 in Myanmar, we contributed to the development and adaptation of teaching tools to make sure that children with disabilities had access to education. As part of a long-lasting, multi-stakeholders disaster preparedness project, Humanity & Inclusion was also able to support its partners in the provision of emergency medical assistance and personal protective equipment.
Finally, we worked closely with local and international partners, as well as donors, to promote the inclusion of persons with disabilities in global humanitarian assistance and to enhance the accessibility of services.