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HomeWorldFood Aid Operation Begins To Reach Two Million Affected By Myanmar Crisis

Food Aid Operation Begins To Reach Two Million Affected By Myanmar Crisis


Two million people facing growing food insecurity
linked to the ongoing political crisis in Myanmar are to
receive nutrition assistance, amid rising “hunger and
desperation”, the World Food Programme (WFP) said on
Thursday.

The operation will focus on poor
townships in Myanmar’s main cities “and other areas
where population displacement has recently taken place”
since the 1 February coup, WFP said in a statement.

Within
the next six months, the UN agency warned that an additional
3.4 million people will go hungry, particularly in urban
centres, over and above the 2.8 million people considered to
be food insecure in Myanmar before the military
takeover.

“More and more poor people have lost their
jobs and are unable to afford food”, said WFP Myanmar
Country Director Stephen Anderson.

“A concerted
response is required now to alleviate immediate suffering,
and to prevent an alarming deterioration in food
security.”

Pushed to the edge

The UN agency
reported how families in and around Yangon have been
“pushed to the edge”, skipping meals, eating less
nutritious food and taking on debt to feed
themselves.

This is largely because poor people have
lost jobs and income, making it harder to afford food, WFP
said, noting that vulnerable people in urban areas affected
by the economic standstill were at greatest risk, while
rural populations were likely to face pressure in the
longer-term.

In Yangon, WFP intends to help 10 of the
poorest townships where there are large informal
settlements.

“WFP is also monitoring the situation
in other parts of the country, and is ready to provide
assistance to affected communities, including those newly
displaced by armed conflict, if required”, it
said.

Price hikes

Latest WFP
market monitoring
shows that average rice prices have
increased across the country by five per cent since January,
while cooking oil now costs 18 per cent more than it did in
February.

Price increases have been particularly high
in border states including Rakhine, Kachin and
Chin.

“In Kachin state, rice prices have risen by up
to 43 per cent in some townships and cooking oil by 32 per
cent”, said WFP.

“The price of fuel has increased
by roughly 30 per cent nationwide.”

Despite ongoing
insecurity in border regions, WFP insisted that it has
maintained assistance to internally displaced people and
other vulnerable populations. In March, it reached 374,000
people in conflict-affected areas of southern Chin, Kachin,
Rakhine and northern Shan states, it said.

In the
coming months, the number of people WFP assists will nearly
triple – from 1.3 million to 3.3 million. To do this, WFP
appealed for $106 million urgently.

“To prevent a
large-scale humanitarian crisis unfolding in front of our
eyes, we must step up. We count on the international
community to continue standing with the people of
Myanmar”, said Mr.
Anderson.

© Scoop Media

 



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