Chin State Named Poorest in Burma
07 July 2011: Chin State has been ranked the poorest among the 14 states and divisions in Burma, according to a report ‘Poverty Profile’ published last month by the UNDP.
The report based on the integrated household living conditions survey conducted in 2009-2010 said the highest values of poverty incidence are in Chin State at 73%, with the highest rate of food poverty at 25%, followed by Rakhine State.
Akbar Usmani, UNDP Resident Representative a.i., said: “UNDP is happy to have contributed to the first such survey to be done in Myanmar since 2005. We hope that the survey will contribute to well-informed pro-poor programmes for improving the living conditions of the people of Myanmar.”
Since 2005, the poverty level has fallen by 6 percent, affecting around 25 percent of the population in the country, according to the survey results.
“Food poverty incidence is more than twice as high in rural than urban areas. Rural areas account for over 85 percent of total food poverty,” added the report.
In terms of ‘low-level’ maternal health, Chin State tops the graph with 61 percent just above Rakhine at 55 percent. According to the report, 68 percent of Chin people do not have access to health care.
High levels of self-reported morbidity are found in Karen (8.9%), Chin (8.1%), Karenni (8.0%) and Rakhine (8.0%).
Chin and Karen States stands at the lowest levels of access to primary schools with 73 and 75 percentage points respectively while the highest illiteracy rates are found in Rakhine and Shan at both 75 percent, according to the report.
Burma’s ruling junta has been criticised for allocating only 4.3 percent for education and 1.3 percent for health while nearly 24 percent of the budget this year is reserved for the military.
The UNDP’s Poverty Profile survey was presented with emphasis on consumption poverty and its correlates including other dimensions of living conditions such as health, education, water and sanitation are reviewed.
The first nationwide survey was conducted in 2004-05 and the second 2009-10 with a representative sample of 18,660 households across the country.
According to a report by US-based Nobel Peace Prize-winning Physicians for Human Rights in January, more than 90 percent of Chins were subjected to forced labor, while over 14 percent of the population reported being persecuted by the Burmese authorities on the basis of their ethnic and religious/Christian identity.
Van Biak Thang