Responding to Myanmar’s Silent Emergency: the Urgent Case for International Humanitarian Relief and Development Assistance
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Though richly endowed with natural, human and cultural resources, Myanmar has experienced political instability and economic decline over the past decade. After many years of inefficient central planning and widespread controls, it was designated a ‘Least Developed Country’ (LDC) by the United Nations in December 1987. The next year, following the political disturbances of August 1988 and the military coup which brought the SLORC to power (18 September), it forfeited all bilateral aid from its traditional OECD donors. Per caput income and essential imports have fallen while inflation has accelerated, with devastating consequences for the nation’s women and children. At the same time, population growth threatens to outstrip the government’s ability and willingness to cope with the basic needs of the annual additions to the population, let alone to begin reducing existing disparities. With a current growth rate of around 2 per cent, among the highest in the region, the population of around 47 million (35 per cent of whom are under fifteen) is set to double in the next thirty years, reaching somewhere between 75 and 95 million by the year 2025, depending upon current policies and the pattern of demographic transition. Already Myanmar belongs to the top twenty-five most populous countries in the world.
KeywordsForeign Exchange Social Sector Difficult Circumstance Official Development Assistance Humanitarian Assistance
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