Christian Aid has worked in Myanmar (Burma) since the 1980s. We aim to empower poor marginalised and communities, enabling them to take control of their own development.
Disasters: Myanmar is vulnerable to cyclones, earthquakes, floods, fire and landslides. Such hazards destroy years of development.
In May 2008 Cyclone Nargis hit Myanmar killing 130,000 people and affecting 2.4 million. In October 2010 Cyclone Giri affected over 200,000. These hazards affect the poorest the most, threatening lives, resources and livelihoods.
Secure livelihoods: Myanmar was once the ‘rice bowl’ of Asia, but is now one of the poorest countries in Asia. Approximately a third of the population do not have their basic needs met. Unfavourable economic policies, marginalisation of ethnic and other groups, displacement, and natural disasters all contribute to food insecurity.
For example, a third of the rice harvest was lost after Cyclone Nargis in 2008. Poverty and food insecurity is particularly pronounced in border areas, where many of the country’s ethnic minorities live.
HIV/AIDS and health: In the last decade, statistics say that HIV rates of 15 – 49 year olds have decreased to 0.6%. However, data on HIV is unreliable and it is believed that HIV prevalence rates are much higher.
Lack of knowledge surrounding HIV and sexual health, inadequate healthcare, and intravenous drug use contribute to 16,900 new infections each year .
Malaria is also a significant threat and a major contributor to child mortality – nearly 7% of children do not live to see their fifth birthday. Maternal and child mortality indicators in conflict areas of Myanmar are amongst the worst in the world.
The main focuses of our work are:
• secure livelihoods
• HIV and health
• disaster risk reduction
We work with partners to strengthen livelihoods and the security of rural communities, increase their ability to prevent and respond to natural disasters, and strengthen community responses to HIV and AIDS and basic health care issues.
Thailand Burma Border Consortium (TBBC) works to support Burmese refugees in nine camps along the Thai-Burma (Myanmar) border. More than 145,000 people have fled to Thailand where they live in cramped and restrictive conditions. Some of them have been there for more than 25 years.
They are not permitted to leave the camps to find work so TBBC helps them develop skills and earn money to supplement their meagre diet, and to pay for essentials such as clothing and medicines. Around 10,000 refugees are employed to help run the camp’s construction, education and other activities.
Inside Myanmar we work with seven local partner organisations to develop more sustainable and resilient livelihoods and to overcome major health challenges. We help to support the hundreds of thousands of displaced people within the country.
With more than 130 ethnic groups, Burma is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in Asia. We work to improve the livelihoods of some of the most marginalised communities and reduce their vulnerability to disasters.
What you can do
• Help us continue our support of partners in Myanmar by donating.
• Take action to help eradicate poverty and injustice across the world.
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