Statement from CARE’s Vice President for Humanitarian Affairs, Deepmala Mahla:
"In the six months since the military seized power on February 1, Myanmar’s humanitarian situation has deteriorated rapidly, with a staggering three million people in need of humanitarian assistance, an additional two million since February. The deepening COVID situation is exacerbating the already dire humanitarian crisis.
"CARE is incredibly concerned about the impact of Myanmar’s most severe COVID wave on vulnerable communities. We are still hearing reports of endless queues of people seeking to secure limited oxygen supplies, while others are turning to social media to plead for help for their family and friends. In a country where citizens have endured blow after blow, their ability to withstand this latest crisis has been seriously eroded. July has seen new daily COVID cases and death records repeatedly broken, with more than 7,000 cases on July 14 and 396 deaths on July 26. But with low testing rates, we fear the true magnitude of the crisis is far worse.
"The rampant spread of COVID-19 must be addressed immediately, including facilitating the production and supply of oxygen to communities to support home-based care for COVID sufferers. It is also vital that movement restrictions do not impact people’s ability to access life-saving medical services, particularly for women seeking maternal and reproductive health care.
"Conflict and violence continue to displace and pose threats to the population and accessing essential services and supplies is increasingly challenging. CARE implores authorities to ensure that the documentation required to purchase food is free for all households, so everyone, particularly the most vulnerable, can access life-sustaining food.
"CARE calls upon ASEAN member states to increase efforts to work together, and with other countries in the region and the international community, to urgently find a lasting and peaceful solution to the ongoing crisis. Failure to act will lead to more needless suffering.
"It is imperative that humanitarian agencies are afforded safe, unfettered access to affected communities to provide much-needed assistance. CARE urges all parties to the ongoing conflict to assure and support neutral, independent humanitarian assistance to vulnerable communities. At this critical time, vulnerable groups in Myanmar are counting on our collective efforts.”
Founded in 1945, CARE is one of the largest and oldest humanitarian aid organisations fighting global poverty. CARE has a special focus on empowering and meeting the needs of women and girls and promoting gender equality and works in 100 countries around the world.
CARE International has responded to humanitarian and development needs in Myanmar since 1995. https://www.care.org.au/country/myanmar/