Aid to Myanmar Drops to Pre-Nagris Levels

Foreign aid to Myanmar has decreased to pre-Cyclone Nagris levels, according to data from the Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation. Aid agencies say the funding slump has left millions of people in the country in dire need of food, health, shelter and education.

The Southeast Asian country received a total of USD357 million worth of foreign assistance in 2009, approximately 30 percent lower that the total aid it received in 2008 at the height of the international response to Cyclone Nagris.

“Nargis was just a blip,” IRIN quotes Andrew Kirkwood, head of Save the Children’s Myanmar operations.

Kirkwood adds that the total foreign aid received by Myanmar in 2010 could be as low as USD5 per capita as the country receives even less humanitarian aid.

At least one other local aid official observed that there is a boycott on foreign aid to Myanmar.

“There is [definitely] an ODA boycott going on, though not on paper,” Frank Smithuis, founder of Medical Aid Myanmar, a local aid group specializing in HIV care, said as quoted by IRIN. “It’s no coincidence that the countries that have imposed economic sanctions on Myanmar are also the countries that give the least development assistance.”

Smithuis is the former director of Médecins Sans Frontières Holland in the country.

About the author

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.