Myanmar's crisis continues to grow as the military junta has forced medical workers to care for COVID-19 patients and injured residents, hunted by authorities who staged a coup early in the year.
Many residents have also been queueing up to purchase oxygen as the country's supply dwindles while the military is accused of hoarding the oxygen supplies to prioritize its officials. One resident, 21-year-old student Phoe Thar, has been spending the last week trying to get oxygen cylinders from other homes and filling them up.
Thar is among a group of volunteers who line up the tanks outside charities to be filled and returned to their owners. The efforts aim to support struggling citizens amid the coronavirus pandemic and the chaos of the military coup and its rise to power.
Thar and his team, who are funded by donors from social media, are part of a growing collective that bypasses the authority and helps Myanmar citizens respond to crises. In an interview, Thar said the number of people who needed oxygen made it a struggle for him and his team.
On Sunday, COVID-19-related deaths in the country was at 231, while it was at 233 on Saturday. However, medical and funeral services said that the actual death toll was higher and revealed that crematoriums were overloaded, Reuters reported.
With the spread of the Delta variant, the official death toll in Myanmar has risen to nearly 5,000 this month, an increase of 50%. Min Aung Hlaing, the junta leader, appealed to volunteers to work with authorities at a meeting on the coronavirus emergency.
The official said that others were not willing to volunteer because of fears of the military, but he reassured them that they would not be harmed and that cooperation was crucial to beating the pandemic.
Many critics have argued that a number of residents have lost their lives because of the restrictions the military junta has imposed. While accused of hoarding oxygen supplies, it has also limited private oxygen suppliers, Yahoo News reported
The number of confirmed cases in Myanmar has soared to 7,089 on Wednesday as the military junta faces accusations of hoarding crucial oxygen supply. Over the weekend, the country has recorded 6,194 infections in just 24 hours.
The World Health Organization has a tally of 4,536 COVID-19 deaths in Myanmar, which is expected to be severely underestimated because of the lack of testing in the region. The country's health care system has continued to spiral out of control since the military's February coup.
Thousands of residents are forced to line up for hours in hopes of getting oxygen supply to their loved ones suffering from the disease. The lines are sometimes in defiance of lockdown orders, which prompts military troops to use violence to disperse the crowd and get them to go home.
Military officers reportedly fired at a line of people earlier this week in Yangon, Myanmar's largest city. Activist groups and doctors within the region said they documented more than 200 attacks on health workers and facilities, leaving at least 17 people killed, ABC reported.