Covid-19 deaths soar in Myanmar amid coup crisis, say aid organizations

Geneva, Aug 2 (EFE).- Humanitarian organizations on Monday warned of a “spiraling humanitarian catastrophe” in Myanmar, where the violence provoked by the coup is coupled with a devastating coronavirus pandemic.

Some 60 percent of the coronavirus-related deaths were registered last month, while the cases doubled in the past two months, according to a statement signed by a dozen European civil organizations that support humanitarian activities in Myanmar.

Hundreds of hospitals in several major cities are closed as the healthcare workers are subject to attacks and threats, with arrest warrants issued for over 4,000 doctors and 180 nurses since February’s coup, according to the statement.

The violent response of the military to the pro-democracy rallies has ignited guerilla movements, forcing mass displacements in areas where the pandemic has worsened.

“The communities we work with are desperate and dying,” said Laura Marshall, Country Director for the Norwegian Refugee Council in Myanmar, one of the signatories.

 “A third wave of Covid-19 is crashing down on Myanmar, unleashing yet another trauma for its people. The population needs safe and fair access to humanitarian aid and healthcare now,” she added.

The indicators suggest that food insecurity and indebtedness will sharply increase in the coming months triggered by an increase in food prices, the loss of jobs and the devaluation of the currency, it added.

The 3.6 million doses Myanmar will receive through the COVAX mechanism represent “a drop in the ocean” for the country of 54.5 million inhabitants.

Among the signatories are ActionAid, Mercy Corps, Danish Refugee Council, Finnish Refugee Council, Helvetas and Save the Children among others. EFE


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