“The largest inflows of foreign currency to the military are from the oil and gas and mining sectors. We need to totally shut off the flow of foreign currency that is keeping the junta alive,” a local economist who asked not to be named told The Irrawaddy.
Projects taken up by Chinese state-backed liquefied natural gas and solar energy companies would have been difficult to implement even before the Feb. 1 military takeover, insiders say. Now the coup has further complicated matters.
Zau Lawn, a pseudonym for a 24-year-old divinity student in northern Myanmar’s Kachin State says, “I couldn’t tell [security forces] I was helping those who fled war. If the Burmese soldiers found me with humanitarian items, I am afraid that they would harm me.”
In Day Bu Noh, we met Saw Tender, the Mutraw District Governor and president of the Salween Peace Park who said that it is the people who bear the brunt of the attack.
“From 2005 to 2017, Myanmar managed to nearly halve the number of people living in poverty. However, the challenges of the past 12 months have put all of these hard-won development gains at risk.”
“Before the coup, we only saw one or two trucks per day. Now there is no proper inspection we are seeing 10 to 15,” an activist in Chipwi told The Irrawaddy.
The British monitoring group Conflict and Environment Observatory (CEOBS) claims that deforestation of primary rainforest at the heart of the country spiralled since the military took over.
Though one could accuse the oil companies that are staying put of being self-serving by not heeding to the calls of pro-democracy protesters and human rights groups, it would be a flawed, one-dimensional view of a complex and multilayered problem.
Opposition to the military’s coup has boosted ethnic armed groups, creating a new challenge to its lucrative jade and gems business.