Food Assistance Fact Sheet - Burma

Map of Burma
Map of Burma

November 5, 2017


  • Burma, a country in transition, has an estimated population of approximately 53 million comprising 135 different ethnic groups. Conflict, natural disasters, poor agricultural production, high food prices, and pest outbreaks currently pose threats to nationwide food security.
  • Access to adequate and nutritious food in Burma remains a major challenge for the most vulnerable populations. Thirty-eight percent of the population lives below the poverty line. Only an estimated 16 percent of children under 2 receive a minimum acceptable diet, and nearly thirty percent of children under 5 suffers from chronic malnutrition, according to the UN World Food Program (WFP). From 2012-2016, seven percent of children under 5 were moderately or acutely malnourished, according to the Global Hunger Index.
  • Attacks by armed actors on Burmese security positions on August 25 and subsequent military operations in Rakhine state have caused severe food insecurity and mass displacement. As of October 2017, lack of humanitarian access to northern Rakhine State (NRS) has left an unidentified number of people in need of immediate food assistance.
  • The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports there are approximately 14,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs), mostly ethnic-Rakhine, in Rakhine State, however, the number of Rohingya IDPs in Rakhine remains unknown. In Kachin and northern Shan states, there are more than 98,000 IDPs in 165 campsites, according to OCHA. The UN World Food Program (WFP) estimates at least 692,000 people are in need of food assistance in Burma.  


  • In FY 2017, USAID’s Office of Food for Peace (FFP) contributed $12 million to WFP, enabling them to reach approximately 515,000 displaced and conflict affected populations with locally and regionally purchased food as well as cash transfers for food where functioning markets exist.  Although access constraints have limited WFP’s response in northern Rakhine State, WFP was able to resume food distributions in central Rakhine State, reaching 73,000 IDPs and vulnerable people in six townships.
  • In Rakhine State, FFP support to the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) provides Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Foods (RUTF) to children under 5 suffering from severe acute malnutrition (SAM). Focusing on displaced and crisis-affected populations, UNICEF and its partners also provide malnutrition screening for children, community-based SAM treatment for children and capacity building for local government health authorities via monitoring, planning, and training support. 

Food for Peace Contributions

Total Contributions:

  U.S. Dollars Metric Tons
Fiscal Year 2017 $13.2 million 9,953 MT
Fiscal Year 2016 $8.4 million 5,342 MT
Fiscal Year 2015 $13.0 million 13,968 MT

* Metric tonnage does not reflect funding for vouchers or cash transfers. 

Last updated: November 07, 2017

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