Number of Myanmar Children Made Homeless Under Junta Passes Half a Million

By Hein Htoo Zan 2 November 2022

The number of children in Myanmar forced to flee their homes to escape violence since last year’s coup has reached 520,000, according to Save the Children.

More than 1.4 million people have been displaced by conflict in Myanmar – including over half a million children – with 1.1 million forced to flee since the military takeover and crackdown in February 2021, said Save the Children in a statement released yesterday.

The organization said the figures do not include half a million Rohingya children who have been living in camps in neighboring Bangladesh for more than five years.

“People don’t just take the decision to leave their homes lightly – this rapid escalation in children having to flee is down to the very real everyday threats to their lives from fighting in Myanmar,” said Olivier Franchi, Save the Children’s Asia Programmes Director.

Myanmar people living in displacement camps are reliant on donations from local charity groups and humanitarian aid organisations to survive. However, roadblocks and ever-tightening restrictions on transport and aid mean that access is often inconsistent, Save the Children said. Those in desperate need are being denied humanitarian aid as a result, it added.

Nearly two years after the coup, children’s lives remain under daily threat, the children’s aid group said.

In September, 11 children were killed and another 17 injured in a regime airstrike on a school in Sagaing Region. Last month, two children were killed and one severely injured by an explosion on their way home from school in Chin State. Rights group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners- Burma (AAPP) said in its latest report that 243 children have been killed since the coup.

Most of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) are in Kayah and Karen states and Sagaing Region. Many displaced families in Myanmar are living in makeshift shelters in the jungle and are vulnerable to hunger, illness, trafficking and exploitation.

The number of IDPs in Karen State surpassed 300,000 and included 100,000 children in October, according to the Karen Human Rights Group.

Kayah State has over 150,000 IDPs, 35 percent of whom are children aged under 18, according to data from the Karenni Human Rights Group.