10 Facts About Hunger In Myanmar

Help us raise awareness on the effects of hunger and malnutrition in Myanmar by sharing these ten facts.

1) Myanmar is the second largest country in Southeast Asia and is rich in natural resources. Yet it is one of the least developed countries in the world, ranking 150th out of 187 countries according to the 2014 Human Development Report.

2) Significant improvements in the fight against hunger have been achieved in recent decades, with the percentage of the population that receives less than the minimum level of calories falling by more than 77 percent since 1990. This means that Myanmar achieved the Millennium Development Goal of halving hunger by 2015.

3) Despite this progress, more than a quarter of Myanmar’s population still live in poverty.

4) Undernutrition rates continue to be among the highest in the region. More than 35 percent of children in Myanmar show signs of stunted growth caused by chronic malnutrition, while 8 percent of children are acutely malnourished. The World Food Programme (WFP) provides nutritious food to 77,000 malnourished children across the country.

5) Myanmar is vulnerable to serious disasters that affect food security. In 2015, floods and landslides affected 1.7 million people, destroyed more than 500,000 ha of rice fields and killed more than 250,000 livestock. WFP was the first agency to respond to the government’s declaration of a disaster and provided life-saving food to more than 455,000 people in the following month. 

6) Sporadic conflicts and inter-communal violence affect food security in Myanmar and occasionally limit access to those affected. WFP provides food assistance to more than 128,000 vulnerable people displaced by recurrent clashes in Rakhine State, 39,000 in Kachin and 5,000 in Shan.

7) Coupled with food insecurity, only about half of school age children complete their primary education. More than 227,000 children in Myanmar benefit from WFP’s school feeding programme, which is implemented with the government. 

8) Tuberculosis (TB) prevalence rates in Myanmar are among the highest in Asia and three times the global average. WFP provides food assistance for 7,000 TB patients, who have high nutritional needs during the treatment period.

9) HIV prevalence among at-risk groups, especially people who inject drugs, is one of the highest in the world, at 23 percent. To improve their adherence to treatment, WFP provides nutrition support to 13,000 people living with HIV on antiretroviral therapy. 

10) WFP’s operations in Myanmar are chronically underfunded. WFP currently requires USD 40 million to cover all food and cash assistance needs in the country until June 2016.

Learn more about hunger and malnutrition from WFP's comprehensive list of Facts About Hunger and Malnutrition.