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3 million displaced by Myanmar conflict: UN

Around half of the three million have been displaced since late last year when ethnic armed groups launched an offensive
Kayah people gathering at a delivery of drinking water by the charity Clean Yangon at a camp for internally displaced people in Demoso township, in Myanmar's eastern Kayah state.

Kayah people gathering at a delivery of drinking water by the charity Clean Yangon at a camp for internally displaced people in Demoso township, in Myanmar's eastern Kayah state. (Photo: AFP)

Published: May 09, 2024 05:37 AM GMT
Updated: May 09, 2024 05:42 AM GMT

The number of displaced people in Myanmar has reached three million, the United Nations said, the vast majority forced to flee their homes by conflict unleashed by the military's 2021 coup.

Around 2.7 million have fled since the putsch that toppled Aung San Suu Kyi's government after a short-lived experiment with democracy.

The coup sparked renewed clashes with established ethnic armed groups and birthed dozens of new "People's Defence Forces" that the military has failed to crush.

"Myanmar stands at the precipice in 2024 with a deepening humanitarian crisis," the UN's resident coordinator in the country said in a statement released on May 6.

An estimated one-third of those displaced are children, according to the statement.

Around half of the three million have been displaced since late last year when an alliance of ethnic armed groups launched an offensive across northern Shan state, the statement said.

The offensive seized swathes of territory and lucrative trade crossings on the China border, posing the biggest threat to the junta since it seized power.

Myanmar's borderlands are home to a plethora of ethnic armed groups, many of whom have battled the military since independence from Britain in 1948 over autonomy and control of lucrative resources.

The UN said a severe funding shortfall was hampering its relief efforts, particularly ahead of the May-June cyclone season.

Last year cyclone Mocha smashed into western Myanmar's Rakhine state, killing at least 148 people.

More than 355,000 people are currently displaced in western Rakhine state, which has been rocked since November by clashes between the Arakan Army and the military, the UN said.

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