Myanmar set for 'extreme deprivation' due to Covid-19, UN World Food Programme says

Myanmar was already reeling from the impact of the pandemic before its worst wave of outbreak this year. PHOTO: REUTERS

NAYPYIDAW (BLOOMBERG) - Myanmar's Covid-19 outbreak has pushed more people into poverty, and the most vulnerable sections of the society may face "extreme deprivation" in the coming months, according to the United Nations World Food Programme.

"We're concerned that the cumulative impact is putting pressure on the most vulnerable segments of society," the food agency's Country Director Stephen Anderson said in a Bloomberg Television interview with Yvonne Man and Rishaad Salamat on Wednesday (Sept 29).

"These are people who spend about 70 per cent of their household income just to buy food and something has to give."

Before its worst wave of outbreak this year, one of the poorest South-east Asian nations was already reeling from the impact of the pandemic, with 80 per cent of the households estimated to have lost up to 50 per cent of their income.

The country was then hit by "additional shocks" following the military takeover in February, said Mr Anderson.

An estimated one million jobs could be lost this year, while the country is facing rising food and fuel prices, banking issues, and a weakening currency, Mr Anderson said.

"We're concerned that we're going to be seeing in the coming months further pictures of people facing extreme deprivation in Myanmar."

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