Myanmar’s political crisis could spell humanitarian disaster if aid groups are restricted

Published 04. Feb 2021
Following the political crisis in Myanmar on 1 February, aid organisations are concerned about the impact on the humanitarian situation and relief operations in the country.

Close to 1 million people already rely on aid, and over a quarter of a million people are sheltering in displacement settlements in conflict areas. Access for aid organisations was already curtailed before to the political crisis, due to Covid-19 restrictions. In neighbouring Bangladesh, over 900,000 Rohingya refugees waiting to return to Myanmar are now facing an even more uncertain future.

Reacting on the possible humanitarian fallout of the crisis, Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) Jan Egeland, said:

“We are deeply troubled that Myanmar’s political crisis could spell humanitarian disaster for 1 million vulnerable people if aid organisations are further restricted in delivering relief across the country. People’s ability to access humanitarian assistance was already limited in conflict areas prior to this week’s state of emergency, including in Kayin, Rakhine, Kachin and Shan states, and across Bago Region.

As we begin to assess the implications that these political developments could have on our operations, we fear that humanitarian needs may escalate rapidly and with devastating consequences if we experience any further clampdown on our ability to deliver aid.

We appeal to the de facto authorities, international donors, ASEAN nations and to China, to ensure that humanitarian access and protection of all vulnerable groups is at the forefront of political and diplomatic attention in the days ahead.”

For more information or to arrange an interview:

Contact NRC's global media hotline on +47 905 62329 or email