That level of impoverishment has not been seen in the country since 2005 and the economy is facing significant risks of collapse, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) stated in his report, COVID-19, coup and poverty: aggravating negative shocks and their impact on human development in Myanmar.
Second @UNDP_Myanmar new report, up to 25 million people in Myanmar could live below the national poverty line by early 2022, a level of impoverishment not seen since 2005, due to the combined effects of # COVID-19 and the political crisis.
– UNDP Asia Pacific (@UNDPasiapac) April 30, 2021
“In the space of 12 years, from 2005 to 2017, Myanmar has managed to almost halve the number of people living in poverty. However, the challenges of the past 12 months have put all these hard-earned development gains at risk “, Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator, She said.
“Without functioning democratic institutions, Myanmar faces a tragic and avoidable relapse to levels of poverty that have not been seen for a generation.”
The study also found that because economic, health and political crises affect people and communities differently, vulnerable groups are more likely to suffer, which is particularly relevant for internally displaced persons (IDPs) and ethnic minorities. , especially the Rohingya community.
According to the report, by the end of 2020, 83 percent of Burmese households reported that their income had, on average, been reduced by almost half as a result of the pandemic. As a result, the number of people living below the poverty line is estimated to have increased by 11 percent.
The situation worsened further with 1 February military acquisition and the resulting security and human rights crisis, with projections pointing to a further 12% increase in poverty as a result.
Over the next three months, over 750 people – including children – we are reported being killed by the security forces in a brutal repression during the pro-democracy protests, countless others were injured and thousands arrested.
In addition, clashes between Myanmar security forces and regional armed groups have led to new displacements in several parts of the country, as well as forcing many to seek refuge outside its borders.
Before the latest crises, nearly one million people in Myanmar (identified in early 2021) are in need of humanitarian assistance and protection.
Women, children, small businesses hit hardest
According to the study, women and children are feared to bear the brunt, with more than half of Myanmar’s children expected to live in poverty within a year.
Urban poverty is also expected to triple as the worsening security situation continues to affect supply chains and hinder the movement of people, services and commodities. Small businesses, which provide most of the jobs and incomes for the poorest segments of the urban population, have been hit hard, UNDP said.
He also added that pressures on the country’s currency, the Kyat, have increased the price of imports and energy, while the volume of maritime trade is estimated to have fallen by between 55 and 64 percent.
At the same time, the country’s banking system remains paralyzed, resulting in a shortage of money, limiting access to social welfare payments and preventing troubled families from much-needed remittances.
Urgent corrective actions needed
The report also noted that without swift corrective action on economic, social, political and human rights protection policies, Myanmar’s efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 could be derailed.
As a terrible and complex situation develops – characterized not only in humanitarian terms but also as a profound crisis of development, democratization and human rights – and circumstances worsen, international support will play an important role in safeguarding the well-being of the people of Myanmar, he added.