WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States said on Tuesday it was giving Myanmar more than $50 million in aid as surging COVID-19 infections worsened a humanitarian crisis in the Southeast Asian country already reeling after generals overthrew a democratically elected government earlier this year.
It is also providing Thailand with $5 million to cope with novel coronavirus, U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, announced the funding during a visit to Thailand, he added.
In Myanmar, the U.S. funding will aid “those forced to flee violence and persecution” as well as help groups provide health care services in addition to essentials such as food, shelter and water, the State Department said.
“This funding comes at a critical point of rising humanitarian needs and will help mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on the lives of the people of both Thailand and Burma,” Price said. “In the wake of the February 1 coup, people from Burma continue to flee their homes due to ongoing violence.”
Six months after the army seized power, Myanmar’s economy has collapsed and its health system has buckled as coronavirus cases surged.
COVID-19 cases peaked in Myanmar last month, with 3,824 new daily infections now reported on average, Reuters data show. It has seen 333,127 infections and 12,014 coronavirus-related deaths since the pandemic began.
In Thailand, the average number of new COVID-19 infections are at their peak, with more than 20,400 cases reported daily, according to Reuters data.
(Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Anil D’Silva)