Myanmar Red Cross ramps up support for hundreds of thousands of people

A member of Red Cross walks amid protests against the military coup in Dawei, Myanmar, on Feb 28, 2021 in this picture obtained from social media.
PHOTO: Reuters via Dawei Watch

YANGON - Myanmar's Red Cross is stepping up support for hundreds of thousands of people as the economic crisis since the Feb 1 coup compounds hardship caused by the Covid-19 epidemic, the aid organisation said on Tuesday (June 8).

"Many people are struggling to earn an income and have very limited access to basic services such as healthcare," the group's secretary-general, Dr Htin Zaw Soe, said in a statement.

The Red Cross said it would be increasing support for 236,000 people across Myanmar with the help of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). Assistance would include food relief and cash assistance.

The IFRC's Head of Delegation in Myanmar, Mr Joy Singhal, also emphasised that "every effort needs to be made to contain the virus as the monsoon season looms large, with cyclones and floods adding another layer of hardship for hundreds of thousands of people in the coastal regions".

Four of the five most vulnerable regions in the upcoming monsoon season - Ayeyarwady, Bago, Tanintharyi and Mon - have also been impacted by the current civil unrest. Between 2000 and 2019, Myanmar was one of the top three countries, most affected by the impacts of extreme weather events.

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The Red Cross have prepared stocks of relief items, like shelter equipment for people displaced due to disasters, and emergency response equipment such as water purification units.

The country of 53 million people has been plunged into chaos since the army overthrew elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The economy has been paralysed by strikes; anti-junta protests take place daily; hundreds of opponents of military rule have been killed by security forces and thousands detained while conflicts have flared in Myanmar's borderlands.