Highlighting the deteriorating situation in Myanmar, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator has said there are now more than 3 million people in the country who need life-saving humanitarian aid because of growing conflict and insecurity, COVID-19 and a failing economy.
"Without an end to violence and a peaceful resolution of Myanmar's crisis, this number will only rise," said Martin Griffiths, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator.
Since the February 1 armed forces takeover, hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes due to violence across the country, and 223,000 people remain internally displaced. This includes 165,000 in the south-east of the country and is on top of a significant population of people who were already displaced in Rakhine, Chin, Shan and Kachin states prior to the takeover, Griffiths said.
"Long-term displacement remains unresolved, with 144,000 Rohingya people still confined to camps and camp-like settings in Rakhine, many since their displacement in 2012, and more than 105,000 people displaced in Kachin and Shan, many for years," he added.
In recent weeks, the situation in the north-west of the country has become extremely concerning, with an escalation in hostilities between the Myanmar Armed Forces and the Chinland Defence Force in Chin state, and with the People's Defence Forces in Magway and Sagaing regions, the statement said.
More than 37,000 people, including women and children, have been newly displaced, and more than 160 homes have been burned, including churches and the offices of a humanitarian organization, Griffiths noted.
"Attacks directed against civilians and civilian infrastructure, including humanitarian workers and facilities, are clearly prohibited under international humanitarian law and must stop immediately," he said.
He further called on Myanmar armed forces — and all parties — to facilitate safe, rapid and unimpeded humanitarian access. "Access to many people in desperate need across the country remains extremely limited due to bureaucratic impediments put in place by the armed forces."
The top UN official also urged the international community to fund the humanitarian response for Myanmar by providing USD 385 million amid the deteriorating situation in the country.
"I also call on the international community to fund the response. Less than half of the US$385 million required under the Humanitarian Response Plan and Interim Emergency Response Plan launched after the armed forces' takeover has been received." (ANI)