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Covid-19 and the coup may push half of Myanmar into poverty

Neill Fronde



PHOTO: Poverty affecting Burmese people via Quora

With the devastating double whammy of a global pandemic and the military coup descending into civil war, the UN fears that nearly half the people of Myanmar could be living in poverty by next year. The United Nations Development Program predicted that up to 25 million Burmese people could suffer below the poverty line by the beginning of 2022.

The country had already suffered economically from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, but the civil unrest led to even larger economic shutdowns. The effects of the coup during the pandemic may undo 16 years of progress in which the Burmese poverty levels dropped in half in the years since 2005. Amidst the chaos though, the United Nation fears a slip back into poverty for the troubled country.

Recently, more refugees have been desperately crossing the border into Thailand as ethnic insurgent groups engage in violent clashes with the Burmese military. The February 1 coup that deposed the elected government and plunge the country into military rule has spawned widespread protests, that have been met with harsh crackdowns and more than 750 civilian deaths, and 4,500 people detained.

With unrest and violence proliferating throughout the country, the Burmese military finds itself the target of two dissenting movements. Ethnic minorities in the north and east of Myanmar have spent decades clashing with military forces and now find themselves allied with the demonstrators who fight the same military forces. Some ethnic insurgent groups have aided and sheltered activists who flee through the regions that they control.

Just recently the Karen National Union seized and destroyed military posts, with the Burmese military responding by launching airstrikes in the region. Civilians caught in the crossfire have escaped and growing numbers across the rivers in jungles into Thailand. 2,267 Burmese refugees have been recorded entering the Mae Hong Son province to find safety.

OCHA, a humanitarian agency of the United Nations says more than 30,000 Burmese nationals have been displaced by military clashes just in the last month and a half, contributing to increasing poverty in Myanmar.

SOURCE: France 24


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  1. Avatar

    Dynamo Dave

    Friday, April 30, 2021 at 7:24 pm

    And will General Plaing baulk at the UN poverty forecast, regarding the likely additional 25 million of his country’s people being driven into poverty? I somehow doubt it. He’s an army general and these people think and behave differently from normal people.
    And we needn’t look far to spot another of this breed, but in this case his people have given him their loyal support and trust . . . such a contrast in public tolerance and behaviours.

  2. Avatar


    Friday, April 30, 2021 at 7:46 pm

    More migrants into Thailand means more Covid cases. Maybe only 35% of Thais will be pushed into poverty because of the lockdowns.

  3. Avatar


    Friday, April 30, 2021 at 7:58 pm

    The country is already in poverty

  4. Avatar

    J West

    Saturday, May 1, 2021 at 8:38 am

    @zig – That was my reaction too. But, globalist politicians will look at this an an opportunity to import more cheap labor and fill the brothels with fresh meat.

  5. Avatar

    Mark W

    Saturday, May 1, 2021 at 7:47 pm

    Most of the world was already in poverty. Then some selfish brats started screeching about a respiratory disease that kills octogenarians.

  6. Avatar

    Mel Burn

    Sunday, May 2, 2021 at 2:24 am

    @Mark W. Absolutely true. No politician will admit that the world is overpopulated and that is the root of the problem – climate change, etc.

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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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