Myanmar: Red Cross ramps up response as humanitarian crisis deepens

Kuala Lumpur/Yangon/Geneva, 8 June 2021 – The Myanmar Red Cross supported by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is scaling up emergency support as hundreds of thousands of people in Myanmar need immediate assistance and access to health services. 

The Red Cross is urgently ramping up efforts to meet the rising humanitarian needs of 236,000 people across Myanmar.   

Prof. Dr. Htin Zaw Soe, Secretary General of the Myanmar Red Cross Society said:  

“Covid-19 has caused immense economic hardship across Myanmar in the past year. The current crisis has led to further social and economic upheaval. Many people are struggling to earn an income and have very limited access to basic services such as healthcare. 

“We are preparing to provide assistance to people who face worsening poverty, including immediate food relief, and cash assistance that enable people to buy produce locally, in turn stimulating local economies.” 

Factory and retail closures signal an emerging economic crisis with thousands left jobless. With no income, people living in informal settlements in urban areas are particularly vulnerable 

With a nationwide network, Myanmar Red Cross Society is the country’s largest humanitarian organisation delivering humanitarian assistance across the country. 

Since February 1, over 2,000 trained Myanmar Red Cross first aid volunteers have played a critical role on the frontlines of the current crisis, providing lifesaving first aid, healthcare and ambulance services, in line with their fundamental humanitarian principles of independence, neutrality and impartiality, to individuals injured and/or ill including pregnant women for safe delivery of babies. Until now, more than 3,000 people have already received these services 

In the coming months, the Myanmar Red Cross will scale up its first aid and basic healthcare services and will also address rising food insecurity and poverty among families, including longer term support to re-establish people’s fractured livelihoods.  

Joy Singhal, IFRC’s Head of Delegation in Myanmar said: 

With a steady increase in humanitarian needs we are preparing for what could become a protracted crisis. This means scaling up both immediate and longer-term support while also factoring in the limited COVID-19 prevention efforts in the country.”  

“As the deadliest COVID-19 surges worsen across Asia, 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.  

In preparation for the monsoon season, the Red Cross is pre-positioning stocks of key relief items including shelter equipment for people displaced due to disasters and emergency response equipment such as water purification units.  

Note to Editors: 

The IFRC’s emergency appeal in response to the civil unrest in Myanmar can be downloaded here


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