By THE IRRAWADDY 4 October 2021
A large proportion of more than 76,000 children in Myanmar who have been forced to flee their homes since the February coup could go hungry as their families share a single meal per day, Save the Children has warned.
Citing the UN refugee agency, the UNHCR, the charity said on Monday that around 206,000 people have been displaced by violence since the coup.
Of them, 76,000 are children and many are sheltering in forests during torrential rain under tarpaulins without enough food, it reported.
“While the world’s attention has moved on, a hunger crisis is unfolding in Myanmar,” Save the Children said. “Children are already going hungry and very soon they will start to succumb to disease and malnutrition.”
Myanmar is seeing growing popular resistance to military rule in response to attacks on peaceful protests.
The junta has retaliated with brutal raids on villages suspected of harboring resistance fighters while torching houses and making arbitrary arrests, particularly in Sagaing and Magwe regions, Chin and Kayah states.
While the displaced people are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance and food, delivery of aid is often blocked or restricted by the junta.
A volunteer at a displacement camp in Kayah State said hunger was a huge concern for displaced families.
“In the beginning, they received public donations or from charities that were helping people in the camps. But now donations are limited because people are being prevented from going to the camps. Some rice bags were donated and every family got just five cups. That’s not much for a family of seven people to live off,” the volunteer told Save the Children.
In Kayah State, around 22,000 people fled their homes in September alone, according to the UN, which said more than 79,000 people, including around 29,000 children, are displaced in the state.
Earlier this year, the World Food Programme estimated that the number of children in the country going hungry could more than double to 6.2 million this year, up from 2.8 million in February.