World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Renewed Clashes Displace Thousands In Myanmar, UN Reports

Fresh clashes between Myanmar security forces and regional armed groups have displaced thousands across the country, the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said on Tuesday.

According to the Office, almost 50 clashes between the military and the Kachin Independence Army were reported in several places in Kachin state, including use of airstrikes by security forces as well as mortar shelling by both sides, displacing nearly 5,000 people and damaging several homes.

“Around 800 people returned to their villages of origin within a few days and an estimated 4,000 people remain displaced in various sites, including in churches and monasteries”, OCHA said in a humanitarian bulletin.

This was the first reported displacement in the country’s northernmost state since September 2018. Kachin had been hosting about 95,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in long-term camps since 2011.

“Humanitarians and local host communities are doing their best to provide emergency assistance to the newly displaced people, despite the operational challenges and insecurity”, OCHA added.

In neighboring Northern Shan state, escalating clashes since January forced about 10,900 people to flee their homes, of whom nearly 4,000 remain displaced, the Office added, noting that hostilities had also increased since February in Kayin and Bago states, displacing almost 40,000 people.

About 3,000 people, mostly from Kayin, reportedly crossed the border into Thailand. The majority are said to have since returned.

Funds needed for assistance

Apart from the ongoing political strife in the aftermath of the military takeover on 1 February, nearly a million people across Myanmar, over two-thirds of them women and children, identified at the start of 2021, are in need of humanitarian assistance and protection.

UN and humanitarian partners launched a $276 million response plan to assist nearly 950,000 people through 2021. However, into the last week of April, only 12 per cent or $32 million of the amount needed has been received.

Rising hunger and desperation

There are also fears of a sharp rise in hunger and desperation across Myanmar due to the triple impact of pre-existing poverty, the coronavirus pandemic and the ongoing political crisis.

Estimates by the UN World Food Programme (WFP) indicate that up to 3.4 million people – particularly those in urban centres – would be hit by high levels of food insecurity over the next six months.

Already, there are signs of families in and around Yangon being pushed to the edge, skipping meals, eating less nutritious food and going into debt, just to survive, the agency said last week, as it mounted a new food assistance programme to help the most vulnerable.

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), meanwhile, warned that even before the COVID-19 pandemic, almost a third of the country’s children were living in poor households.

“In the current crisis, the situation has worsened. UNICEF is working to support the most vulnerable children and families across Myanmar, ensuring their access to lifesaving services”, the agency said on Monday.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


UN: Decades Of Health Gains At Risk In Brazil Due To COVID-19

Although COVID-19 cases are declining in Brazil, the pandemic is putting decades of public health gains there at risk, the head of the World Health Organization ( WHO ) said on Friday. With global attention and support focused this week ... More>>

UN Report: Myanmar Approaching Point Of Economic Collapse

The turmoil following the military coup in Myanmar, coupled with the impact of COVID-19 could result in up to 25 million people – nearly half of the country’s population, living in poverty by early next year, a United Nations report said on Friday. That ... More>>

World Vision: India’s Second Wave Shows The Global Fight Against COVID-19 Is Far From Won

As India’s COVID-19 daily infection rates reach devastating levels, international aid agency World Vision has warned that the world is nowhere near defeating this virus and some nations are yet to face their worst days. Andrew Morley, World Vision ... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

Study: Cut Methane Emissions To Avert Global Temperature Rise

6 May 2021 Methane emissions caused by human activity can be reduced by up to 45 per cent this decade, thus helping to keep global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change, according to a UN-backed ... More>>

UN: Learning From COVID-19, Forum To Highlight Critical Role Of Science, Technology And Innovation In Global Challenges

New York, 4 May —To build on the bold innovations in science, technology and innovations that produced life-saving solutions during the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN will bring together experts to highlight measures that can broaden the development and deployment ... More>>

What COVID-19 Has Taught Us: “Healthcare Can No Longer Exist Without Technology”

A grandmother in a village in the Gambia should have the same quality of life and access to healthcare they deserve as in New York or London. Photo: InnovaRx Global Health Start-up Works To Bridge Healthcare Gap In The Gambia By: Pavithra Rao As ... More>>