EU strengthens humanitarian support for Myanmar/Burma, calls for greater aid access

European Commission - Press release

Brussels, 15 May 2017

Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides has concluded his official visit to Myanmar/Burma, announcing new funding of €12 million for the country as part of an overall €27 million package for the South and East Asia and Pacific.

As the first Commissioner to visit Northern Rakhine State, he called for greater access for aid organisations working in the area and visited several EU funded humanitarian projects.

"The European Union is committed to supporting those in need in Myanmar/Burma. The recent violence in Northern Rakhine State has created pressing humanitarian needs. During my visit I saw that malnutrition rates have deteriorated after the recent crisis. Our humanitarian partners are helping government authorities develop a food security and nutrition strategy for this region, but we still need better humanitarian access in order to facilitate a quick and full response by aid agencies to assist all affected communities. It is particularly important to help Rohingya civilians who have suffered involuntary displacements as well as supporting their livelihoods." said Commissioner Stylianides.

More than half a million people in Myanmar need humanitarian assistance, including almost 220 000 who are living in displacement. Over €9 million of the new EU funding will provide direct humanitarian assistance to communities living in conflict-afflicted areas (including Rakhine, Shan, and Kachin States), while another €3 million will fund disaster-risk-reduction activities to strengthen the resilience of communities at risk of natural disasters.

Since 1994, the European Commission has provided €229 million in humanitarian aid to Myanmar/Burma.

Both photo and video coverage of the visit is available on EbS.

Background

The visit follows the meeting on 2nd May in Brussels of High Representative / Vice-President Federica Mogherini and Commissioner Stylianides with State Counsellor and Foreign Minister, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

In early October 2016, a deadly assault on three border guard posts in Northern Rakhine State triggered military operations which resulted in the suspension of humanitarian activities in the region. To date, more than 130 000 people who were dependant on aid remain without much-needed regular assistance.

In this region, an estimated 800 000 Rohingya people are deprived of their basic rights, and restrictions of movement seriously impact their livelihood and access to basic services. Both in the Northern Rakhine and Kachin States, humanitarian access remains a problem.

Since 1994, the European Commission's humanitarian aid department has provided €145 million in relief assistance for victims of conflict, communal violence and epidemics, while €84 million has reached victims of natural disasters and to support Disaster Risk Reduction and Preparedness programs in the country. EU aid is channelled impartially to the affected populations, regardless of their race, ethnic group, religion, gender, age, nationality or political affiliation.