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.

Broadcast quality footage available here.

Photos available here.

Long-form story available on wfp.org here.

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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Resources

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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