ANN ARBOR, Michigan — The population of Myanmar, as of 2013, was estimated at 53.2 million people. The Gross Domestic Product grew 13. 6 percent in 2004 and inflation has risen 5.5 percent in 2013.
Changes are due to be made over the next three years according to the World Bank. There are three million pregnant children and women that are due to have improved health care services, and six million people are suggested to have their basic needs met or improved access. However, in Myanmar, one-third of the overall population is living below the poverty line.
Rural areas and cities such as Dawbon, a city that has a densely populated area, suffers from the lack of clean water and sanitation. Under these circumstances, it makes diseases like tuberculosis rife.
Poverty in Yangon, Myanmar exists at an alarming rate. Forty percent of Yangon’s population is very poor and vulnerable, and as a result, are exposed to health scares, commodity-price rises and floods. The United Nations estimates that over 40 percent of Yangon’s five million people are poor or extremely poor. In Yangon, garbage and rubbish are everywhere littering the streets and homes. Children play amongst the human waste and garage. There are no drainage systems, so homes dwell over the slime-filled, dark green water that full of rubbish. There is neither a garbage disposal system, nor any drainage. The homes are not well-built and remain at the mercy of the river’s temperament for flooding.
A common household in Yangon is a bamboo shack that rests on stilts. It consists of a space that measures 12 by 12 feet. In that space, five people reside – two adults and three children. At the price of 25,000 Kyats or 30 USD per month, they all eat, sleep and cook in the same space.
It is said that the biggest daily challenge for the residents of Yangon, is food. Their lives consist of surviving day to day while living in often substandard housing or illegal dwellings. The people of Yangon have not experienced improvements of change in over two decades. The city’s population is expected to double to a total 10 million in the next two decades. Myanmar’s government will be under increasing pressure to address poverty or held accountable for the discontent among the urban poor.
The migration of those from rural areas to urban areas for economic reasons is causing emerging problems in fast-growing cities such as Yangon. The communities are expected to expand in tandem to the population growth. Scientists warn there could be an explosion of slums such as those, in Yangon, since industrial estates are being established with little planning or provision for workers. Efforts are currently being made by the U.N. Habitat in effort to encourage community savings groups, local stable non-corrupt moneylenders. These efforts are in hopes of helping to nurture sustainable communities, so that they no longer rely on outside help. The U.N. is utilizing proactive methods to decrease global poverty.
– Erika Wright
Sources: Arab News, Trust, World Bank
Photo: Wander to Nowhere