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Almost half of Myanmar risks falling into poverty by 2022: warns United Nations Development Programme

A report released on Friday said the pandemic coupled with Myanmar’s political predicament by a military coup could result in nearly half the population, or around 25 million people, dropping into poverty by 2022, warns the United Nations Development Programme

U.N. Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, Kanni Wignaraja, told “COVID-19 and the ongoing political crisis are compounding shocks which are pushing the most vulnerable back and more deeply into poverty. The development gains made during a decade of democratic transition, however imperfect it may have been, is being erased in a matter of months,” she added the country’s progress may be set back to 2005 when it was also under military rule and half of the population was poor.

The study revealed that by the end of last year, an average of 83% of households had reported their incomes had been almost reduced in half due to the pandemic. Due to the socio-economic effects of the pandemic, the number of people living below the poverty line is estimated to have increased by 11 percentage.

Myanmar has been in turbulence since the military toppled the elected government of Aug San Suu Kyi, detained her and other civilian politicians, then eradicate with lethal force, anti-coup protesters. An activist group says security forces have killed more than 750 civilians in the demonstrations.

“Half of all children in Myanmar could be living in poverty within a year, already vulnerable internally displaced people also faced more pressure,” said Wignaraja. The report revealed that urban poverty is contemplated triple, and the security situation was fracturing supply chains and hindering the movement of people, services, and commodities, including agricultural goods. Pressure on Myanmar’s currency, the Kyat, has also increased the price of imports and energy, while the banking system remains paralyzed. “As stated by the U.N. secretary-general, the scale of the crisis requires an urgent and unified international response,” said Wignaraja.


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