Roughly 14.4 million people in Myanmar, or about a quarter of the country's population, "urgently require humanitarian assistance," UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres' envoy said on Monday.
Addressing the General Assembly, Noeleen Heyzer said the military junta's ouster of the democratically-elected government in February 2021 "has opened new frontlines that had long been at peace," warning of spiraling ethnic violence and mass displacement, including over 1 million people who are now internally displaced.
"This crisis has resulted in collapsing state institutions, significantly disrupting critical social and economic infrastructures such as health, education, banking and finance, food security and employment, while increasing criminality and illicit activities," Heyzer said.
"The people of Myanmar are facing intense suffering from this multidimensional crisis," she added.
The military's coup was met by mass civil unrest as people protested the restoration of military rule in Myanmar. The junta cracked down violently on protests as the UN repeatedly warned the country had descended into civil war.
Junta forces have since killed nearly 2,000 people in a crackdown on dissent, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a local monitoring group.
The unrest and mass suffering have led many in Myanmar to resort to violence, said Heyzer.
"A generation that benefitted from the democratic transition is now disillusioned, facing chronic hardship and, tragically, many feel they have no choice left but to take up arms," she said.
"Armed conflict has now become the norm, and distrust among stakeholders has only deepened. In this zero-sum setting, there is a ‘missing middle’ with little space to advocate for the de-escalation of violence or to engage in 'talks about talks," she added.
Source: Philippines News Agency