Myanmar + 1 more

Burma: Food Assistance Fact Sheet - May 15, 2018



  • Burma has a population of approximately 53 million people, comprising at least 135 ethnic groups. Armed conflict, inter-communal violence, high food prices and recurrent natural disasters continue to undermine food security in Burma. According to the UN, approximately 779,000 conflict-affected people living in Kachin, Kayin, Rakhine and Shan states are vulnerable to severe food insecurity.

  • Chronic poverty hinders access to adequate and nutritious foods in Burma, and movement restrictions negatively affect livelihood opportunities, particularly among crisis-affected communities. Approximately 38 percent of the population lives below the poverty line.

  • Communities in Burma suffer from high rates of undernutrition due to inadequate dietary diversity, household food insecurity, inadequate feeding practices and lack of access to health care. Nearly 30 percent of children younger than 5 years of age suffer from chronic malnutrition, according to the UN World Food Program (WFP). The 2017 Global Hunger Index reported that approximately 7 percent of children younger than 5 were experiencing acute malnutrition.

  • Attacks by armed actors on Burmese security posts in August 2017 and subsequent military operations in Rakhine caused mass displacement, and continued lack of access and population movement have exacerbated humanitarian needs. Since the August attacks, approximately 700,000 people, predominately Rohingya Muslims, have fled to neighboring Bangladesh, where they are living in camps, makeshift settlements and host communities and are vulnerable to food insecurity, malnutrition and disease.

  • In April 2018, approximately 6,800 Burmese were internally displaced in Kachin due to protracted armed conflict, according to the Red Cross. Vulnerable groups—particularly women and children—lack access to essential services, such as health, education, livelihoods and markets due to ongoing insecurity and movement restrictions, exacerbating humanitarian needs.


  • In FY 2018, USAID’s Office of Food for Peace (FFP) contributed $7 million to WFP to provide emergency food and nutrition assistance to vulnerable and conflict-affected populations in Kachin, Rakhine and Shan states. In addition, FFP support enables WFP to assess and map emergency needs in these areas, facilitating the delivery of life-saving aid.

  • In FY 2017, FFP provided $13.2 million in FFP support to WFP and the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), including emergency food assistance and ready-to-use therapeutic foods to children younger than 5 years of age suffering from severe acute malnutrition (SAM). Focusing on displaced and crisis-affected populations, UNICEF and its partners provide malnutrition screening and community-based SAM treatment for children and capacity building for local government health authorities through monitoring, planning and training support.