BANGKOK – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is closely monitoring Cyclone Mocha, which is expected to make landfall this Sunday in Myanmar and Bangladesh. Working with partners, the U.N. World Food Programme is gearing up for a large-scale emergency response, putting in place contingency plans, and pre-positioning food and relief supplies, vehicles and emergency equipment. Heavy rainfall is forecast, with the possible risk of floods and landslides which could impact hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people in areas likely to be in the cyclone’s trajectory.

In Myanmar, the U.N. World Food Programme has pre-positioned enough food to cover the needs of more than 400,000 people in Rakhine State and neighboring areas for one month. In Bangladesh, U.N. World Food Programme fortified biscuits and 507,063 pounds of food stock are ready to be dispatched if needed in and around the camps for the Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar.

“We are preparing for the worst, while hoping for the best. Cyclone Mocha is heading to areas burdened by conflict, poverty and weak community resilience. Many of the people most likely to be affected are already reliant on regular humanitarian assistance from the U.N. World Food Programme. They simply cannot afford another disaster,” said Sheela Matthew, U.N. World Food Programme Myanmar Deputy country director.

Anticipating interruptions to transport and telecommunications services, U.N. World Food Programme teams are also putting in place systems to serve the broader humanitarian community with their preparations and potential response to the cyclone.

“The Rohingya refugees are extremely vulnerable to climate shocks, given how disaster-prone the area is and the poor living conditions in the camps. We ask the donor community to continue supporting them in getting through this cyclone and also many other challenges they face, including reduced food assistance due to shrinking donor funding,” said Simone Parchment, U.N. World Food Programme Bangladesh deputy country director.

Unimpeded humanitarian access to support communities in need will be critical in responding to any immediate impacts of the cyclone and for the longer-term recovery process.

YANGON – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today warned that its lifesaving operations in Myanmar are being held back by a major funding shortfall, with over 70 percent of its funding needs over the coming six months still unmet.

A massive wave of COVID-19 infections currently surging throughout the country is compounding hunger, as families struggle amid job losses, rising food and fuel prices, political unrest, violence and displacement.

In April, the U.N. World Food Programme estimated that the number of people facing hunger could more than double to 6.2 million in the next six months, up from 2.8 million prior to February. Subsequent monitoring surveys carried out by the U.N. World Food Programme have shown that since February, more and more families are being pushed to the edge, struggling to put even the most basic food on the table.

“We have seen hunger spreading further and deeper in Myanmar. Nearly 90 percent of households living in slum-like settlements around Yangon say they have to borrow money to buy food; incomes have been badly affected for many,” said U.N. World Food Programme Myanmar Country Director Stephen Anderson.

Starting in May, the U.N. World Food Programme launched a new urban food response, targeting 2 million people in Yangon and Mandalay, Myanmar’s two biggest cities. The majority of people to receive assistance are mothers, children, people with disabilities and the elderly. To date, 650,000 people have been assisted in urban areas.

More than 220,000 people have fled violence since February, and are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. The U.N. World Food Programme has reached 17,500 newly-displaced people and is working to assist more in August. In total, 1.25 million people in Myanmar have received U.N. World Food Programme food, cash and nutrition assistance in 2021 across urban and rural areas.

However, with $86 million more required over the next six months, it is uncertain how far these operations can go.

“The people of Myanmar are facing their most difficult moment in living memory. It is critically important for us to be able to access to all those in need and receive the funding to provide them with humanitarian assistance,” Anderson explained.

“Now more than ever, the people of Myanmar need our support. We are deeply grateful for the backing of the international community – the people of Myanmar will never forget your generosity and solidarity,” said Anderson.

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WFP Yangon food security monitoring – May 2021 available here.

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The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.  We are the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

Follow us on Twitter @WFPUSA@WFP_Media and @WFPAsiaPacific

YANGON, Myanmar – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is to mount a new food assistance operation, targeting up to 2 million vulnerable people in the poor townships in Myanmar’s main cities and other areas where population displacement has recently taken place.

With the triple impact of pre-existing poverty, COVID-19 and the current political crisis, hunger and desperation are rising sharply across Myanmar.  The U.N. World Food Programme estimates that within the next six months, up to 3.4 million more people will be hungry, particularly those in urban centers.

“More and more poor people have lost their jobs and are unable to afford food,” said U.N. World Food Programme Myanmar Country Director Stephen Anderson. “A concerted response is required now to alleviate immediate suffering, and to prevent an alarming deterioration in food security.”

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 U.N. World Food Programme’s response in Yangon will target 10 of the poorest townships, many of which are home to large informal settlements. The U.N. World Food Programme 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.

The latest U.N. World Food Programme market monitoring shows that in Yangon and across the country, the average rice price has increased by five percent since January, and the average cooking oil price has increased by 18 percent since February. In Yangon, an up to 25 percent increase in cooking oil price was also recorded. The increases are particularly high in some border states including Rakhine, Kachin and Chin. In Kachin state, for example, rice prices have risen by up to 43 percent in some townships, and cooking oil by 32 percent. The price of fuel has increased by roughly 30 percent nationwide.

Despite the volatile situation, the U.N. World Food Programme has maintained its humanitarian assistance to internally displaced people and other vulnerable populations affected by long-running conflict. In March, the U.N. World Food Programme  assistance reached 374,000 people in conflict affected areas of southern Chin, Kachin, Rakhine and northern Shan states.

In the coming months, the number of people the U.N. World Food Programme  assists will nearly triple – from 1.3 million to 3.3 million. To do this, $106 million is required 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 Anderson.

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WFP Myanmar Analysis of the Economic Fallout & Food Insecurity

The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.  We are the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

Follow us on Twitter @WFPUSA@WFP_Media and @WFPAsiaPacific



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