Friends and family members funeral of Khant Ngar Hein in Yangon, Myanmar, Tuesday, March 16.
An 18-year-old student Khant Ngar Hein, of medicine, was shot in his chest Sunday in Tamwe, Yangon, by security forces during an anti-coup protest. People flashed the three-fingered salute, a symbol of protest against the coup, during the funeral.
The United Nations is warning that food and fuel prices in Myanmar are steadily rising due to the “current political unrest” triggered by last month’s military coup.
The world body’s food assistance branch, World Food Program (WFP), issued a statement Tuesday that rice prices have risen across the country by an average of three percent from mid-January to mid-February. But the WFP says prices have ballooned anywhere between 20-35 percent in a few townships in Kachin state, the northernmost state of Myanmar.
The agency also says the retail price of palm oil has spiked up to 20 percent since the beginning of February.
The WFP said the unrest is having a negative impact on supply chains and markets.
“These initial signs are troubling, especially for the most vulnerable people who were already living meal-to-meal,” said WFP Myanmar Country Director Stephen Anderson. “Coming on top of the COVID-19 pandemic, if these price trends continue, they will severely undermine the ability of the poorest and most vulnerable to put enough food on the family table.”
The grim assessment comes as the junta has extended martial law in more areas of the main city of Yangon amid reports of more protesters killed by security forces.
The advocacy group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), which has been tracking the violence, said at least 20 people were killed Monday in shootings by security forces.
Nationwide, the AAPP said Monday that the death toll for Sunday had reached 74, making it the bloodiest day of demonstrations against the junta that seized power in a February 1 coup. The previous deadliest day was March 3, when 38 deaths were reported across Myanmar. (AP/VOA)