More than half a million children have fled their homes in Myanmar to escape violence surpassed half a million with a rapid escalation in displacements this year, noted Save the Children.
“More than 1.4 million people have been displaced by conflict in Myanmar – including 520,000 children – with 1.1 million forced to flee since the beginning of the political crisis and escalation of violence in February 2021. Of the total 407,000 children displaced since then, about 63%, or 257,000 , have been displaced in the past nine months,” Save the Children said.
The Save the Children in an official statement said that many displaced families in Myanmar are living in makeshift shelters in the jungle and are vulnerable to hunger, illness and face risks to their safety like trafficking and exploitation. Despite the enormous level of need, Save the Children warned that the Myanmar crisis is one of the most underfunded humanitarian crises globally, and urged the international community to do more to protect Myanmar children, it added.
Moreover, the organisation also talks about one Daw Mar Lwin, 35, and her four daughters who were forced from their home in Sagaing Region, north-west Myanmar – the area that has seen the highest number of displacements across the country – eight months ago. They spent more than 25 days trekking through the jungle trying to find safety.
The Save the Children quoted her as saying : “Our current shelter is made from tarpaulin and is too small for us. It is also difficult to get enough food for children here.
“We have been here for several months, and we are all so worried about food, nutrition, healthcare and education for my daughters. In all my life, I never imagined that I would be a refugee. I had to leave our home and village because of this unprecedented violence, and I have no idea when I will be able to go back.”
People living in these displacement camps are reliant on donations from local charity groups and humanitarian aid organisations to survive. Roadblocks and ever-tightening restrictions on transport and aid mean that access is often inconsistent, Save the Children said, which is having the effect of denying humanitarian aid to those in desperate need.
Nearly two years after the escalation of violence in the country, children’s lives remain under threat on a daily basis, Save the Children said. In September, 11 children were reportedly killed and another 17 children injured in an airstrike on a school in Sagaing Region. Last month, two children were killed and one was severely injured in an explosion on the way home from school in Chin State.
Olivier Franchi, Save the Children’s Asia Programmes Director, said: “People don’t just take the decision to leave their homes lightly – this rapid escalation in children having to flee is down to the very real everyday threats to their lives from fighting in Myanmar.
“ASEAN Heads of State must use their upcoming November Leaders’ Summit, to come up with a concrete plan of action to resolve the crisis in Myanmar. We are urging the UN Security Council to hold an open meeting on Myanmar and to urgently pass a strong resolution to protect the rights of children. We also need the international community to rapidly stepup funding to what is one of the most under-funded humanitarian responses globally.
“A year after this political crisis and escalation in violence started, 150,000 children were displaced. Not even a year after that, this number is at half a million. These figures serve as a warning to the world: while there are many crises the world is grappling with, the children of Myanmar must not be forgotten.”