Myanmar, formerly Burma, is a Southeast Asian nation that borders India, Bangladesh, China, Laos, and Thailand. The country gained its independence from the United Kingdom on 4 January 1948. Its capital is Nay Pyi Taw. Myanmar covers a land area of 676,578 square kilometers. As of 2022, the country had an estimated population of around 57,5 million people. Over half of Myanmar's population consists of diverse ethnic groups.
The humanitarian situation
Myanmar faces multiple overlapping humanitarian needs caused by genocide, persecution, protracted armed conflicts, inter-communal violence and natural disasters. Humanitarian needs in Myanmar have continued to grow due to ongoing armed violence and political unrest since the military coup in February 2021. Myanmar is also one of the most vulnerable countries in South East Asia to natural disasters, facing numerous hazards such as floods, cyclones, and earthquakes.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), ongoing fighting across Myanmar continues to endanger the lives, safety, and health of civilians. Heavy armed clashes, including airstrikes, artillery fire and ambushes are reported predominantly in the northwest and southeast of the country, as well as in Rakhine and southern Chin state.
As of October 2022, there were an estimated 1.4 million internally displaced people (IDP) across Myanmar, including some 1.1 million people who have been displaced within the country since the military takeover on February 1, 2021. 330,000 People are internally displaced due to conflict prior to February 2021, mainly in Rakhine, Kachin, Chin, and Shan state. More than one million refugees and asylum-seekers from Myanmar – mostly from the Rohingya ethnic group - have fled to neighboring countries. Nearly half of the refugees and internally displaced people are children.
For decades, the Rohingya, an ethnic Muslim minority, have faced institutionalized discrimination in Myanmar, such as exclusion from citizenship. Since August 2017, ongoing conflict and violence in northern Rakhine state forced hundreds of thousands of people, mostly Rohingya, to flee Myanmar to Bangladesh. Most of the Rohingya refugees are living currently at the Kutupalong and Nayapara refugee camps in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar region.
The United Nations estimates that more than 14.4 million people in Myanmar require humanitarian aid in 2022. According to the World Food Program (WFP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 15.2 million people in the country are food insecure.
Access restrictions imposed by the authorities and funding constraints severely hamper the ability of aid agencies to respond to humanitarian needs in Myanmar. Relief operations in Myanmar and neighboring Bangladesh (Rohingya refugee crisis) are dangerously and chronically underfunded.
The United Nations has requested $826 million in funding for the Myanmar crisis this year. As of November 2022, only $186 million has been received from donors (23% coverage). For the Rohingya emergency in Bangladesh, $881 million was targeted. As of November, international donors have provided only $336 million (38% coverage).
The security situation
In August 2017, the Myanmar government launched a military campaign that forced hundreds of thousands of Rohingya to flee their homes in Myanmar’s Rakhine State. The United States have declared the Myanmar government has committed genocide against the Rohingya. An estimated 600,000 Rohingya people, living in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, are unable to move freely and are subject to government persecution and violence.
On February 1, 2021, the military staged a coup d'état and arrested State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint, as well as other leaders of the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD). More than 1,800 people were killed in protests and unrest after the coup, and over 13,000 were arrested. Armed conflict in multiple states across Myanmar continues to claim lives, trigger displacement and affect civilians.
Your donations for the Myanmar emergency and the Rohingya emergency can help United Nations agencies, international humanitarian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and their local partners to rapidly provide water, food, medicine, shelter and other aid to the people who need it most.
- UN Crisis Relief: Myanmar crisis
- World Food Programme: Myanmar emergency
- UNHCR: Rohingya emergency
- UNICEF: Rohingya crisis
- Oxfam International: Bangladesh Rohingya refugee crisis
- IFRC: Myanmar: Complex emergency
- You can find more organizations to which you can donate under: DONARE: Humanitarian Crisis Relief, DONARE: Refugees and IDPS , DONARE: Children in Need and DONARE: Hunger and Food Insecurity.
- UN OCHA: Myanmar
- UNHCR USA: Rohingya Refugee Crisis Explained
- International Crisis Group: Myanmar
- Amnesty International: Report Myanmar
- U.S. State Department: Burma genocide