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Concept: Burma

110

Complex emergencies remain as major threats to human well-being in the 21st century. More than 0.3 million Rohingya people in Myanmar, one of the most forgotten minority globally, had fled to the neighborhood communities, during the past decades. In recent crisis, the sudden influx within 3 months almost tripled the accumulated displaced population in Bangladesh. Using the Rohingya people in Bangladesh as a case context, this perspective paper synthesized evidence in published literature regarding what might be the key health risks associated with the five main health and survival supporting domains namely, water and sanitation, food and nutrition, shelter and non-food item, access to health service and information for the displaced living in camp settlements in Asia.

Concepts: Medicine, Public health, Health, Epidemiology, Nutrition, 21st century, Burma, Rohingya people

27

The increasing availability of spatial data inspires the exploration of previously less-studied, yet regionally and nationally important areas, such as the Irrawaddy and Salween River Basins in Southeast Asia. This article documents our experience using global datasets to create environmental basin profiles in these two basins. Our approach draws on the concepts of freshwater vulnerability assessments that guided the selection of indicators. Data on land use, population distribution and fertilizer load were used. The unit of analysis was chosen to distinguish areas with similar bio-geographical characteristics, such as the critical delta areas. Results were further discussed for sub-areas that experience relatively the most pressure in terms of examined indicators within the studied area. The river mouths of both rivers had the most intensive land use and high population density. They are also home to important ecosystems and are sensitive to changes in upstream areas. Our study presents a concise and spatially distributed view of the environmental basin profiles of the Irrawaddy and Salween River Basins. The analysis also provides some interesting methodological insights about the potential of public macro-scale datasets for environmental assessment. The spatial approach allowed the analysis of different indicators, providing a platform for data integration as well as a visually powerful overview of the study area. Yet, the use of macro-scale datasets entails challenges. Despite improvements, the assessment process tends to be driven by the availability and quality of data, rather than by the actual research and management needs. The greatest utility of macro-scale datasets lies-at least in data-poor areas-in larger scale comparative analyses between the basins and their different sub-areas.

Concepts: Demography, Population, Assessment, River, Population density, Drainage basin, Analysis, Burma

26

Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa Korth.) from the Rubiaceae family is an indigenous tropical medicinal tree of Southeast Asia. Kratom leaves have been used for decades in Malaysia and Thailand in traditional context for its perceived vast medicinal value, and as a mild stimulant among manual labourers. Kratom consumption has been reported to cause side-effects in kratom users.

Concepts: Southeast Asia, Indonesia, Asia, Thailand, Kratom, Malaysia, Cambodia, Burma

8

Myanmar is the largest country in mainland Southeast Asia with a population of 55 million people subdivided into more than 100 ethnic groups. Ruled by changing kingdoms and dynasties and lying on the trade route between India and China, Myanmar was influenced by numerous cultures. Since its independence from British occupation, tensions between the ruling Bamar and ethnic minorities increased.

Concepts: DNA, Southeast Asia, United States, China, United Kingdom, Thailand, Malaysia, Burma

5

Disease characteristics of North Korea including severe malnutrition and infectious disease risks have not been openly and widely analyzed. The present study aimed to estimate infectious disease risks among refugees from North Korea.

Concepts: Present, Disease, Infectious disease, Infection, Malnutrition, North Korea, Burma, Copenhagen Consensus

4

The Rohingya people are one of the most ill-treated and persecuted refugee groups in the world, having lived in a realm of statelessness for over six generations, and who are still doing so. In recent years, more than 500,000 Rohingyas fled from Myanmar (Burma) to neighboring countries. This article addresses the Rohingya refugee crisis in Bangladesh, with special emphasis on the living conditions of this vulnerable population. We reviewed several documents on Rohingya refugees, visited a registered refugee camp (Teknaf), collected case reports, and conducted a series of meetings with stakeholders in the Cox’s Bazar district of Bangladesh. A total of 33,131 registered Rohingya refugees are living in two registered camps in Cox’s Bazar, and up to 80,000 additional refugees are housed in nearby makeshift camps. Overall, the living conditions of Rohingya refugees inside the overcrowded camps remain dismal. Mental health is poor, proper hygiene conditions are lacking, malnutrition is endemic, and physical/sexual abuse is high. A concerted diplomatic effort involving Bangladesh and Myanmar, and international mediators such as the Organization of Islamic Countries and the United Nations, is urgently required to effectively address this complex situation.

Concepts: Islam, United Nations, Refugee, Bangladesh, Burma, Rakhine State, Rohingya people, Cox's Bazar District

3

The anomalous occurrence of supposedly Gondwanan taxa in Laurasian-derived regions remains an intriguing chapter of paleobiogeographical history. Representatives of Peripatidae, a major subgroup of velvet worms (Onychophora), show a disjointed distribution in the neotropics, tropical Africa, and Southeast Asia, the latter being the only landmass previously associated with Laurasia [1, 2]. The arrival of these animals in Southeast Asia is explained by two alternative, albeit not mutually exclusive, hypotheses: an early migration via Europe before continental drift (Eurogondwana hypothesis) or transportation via insular India during the Cretaceous and Paleogene (“out-of-India” hypothesis) [3-6]. The latter hypothesis is based on a single extant species of Peripatidae, Typhloperipatus williamsoni, in India. †Cretoperipatus burmiticus from Myanmar is the oldest fossil onychophoran found in amber [7], dating to sometime between the two proposed scenarios, and hence crucial for clarifying how Gondwanan lineages of these low-vagility animals reached Southeast Asia (see also Supplemental Information). Based on the anatomical reconstruction of †C. burmiticus using synchrotron radiation-based X-ray microtomography (SRμCT) and comparisons with extant taxa, we resolved this fossil species within Onychophora, particularly within Peripatidae, with T. williamsoni as its closest extant relative. This suggests that an early Eurogondwanan migration of peripatids was the most likely event, as Burmese amber is too old to be compatible with the out-of-India hypothesis. Moreover, peripatids probably colonized India only recently from Myanmar, refuting the putative Gondwanan relict status of Indian onychophorans. Finally, preservation artifacts identified in the novel amber material might have a major impact on studies of onychophoran stem and/or crown groups.

Concepts: Southeast Asia, Continent, Animal, Extinction, Gondwana, Burma, Extant taxon, Onychophora

3

 Some studies suggest maternal influenza vaccination can improve birth outcomes. However, there are limited data from tropical settings, particularly from Southeast Asia. We conducted an observational study in Laos to assess the effect of inactivated influenza vaccination in pregnant women on birth outcomes.

Concepts: Childbirth, Southeast Asia, Thailand, Laos, Lao people, Burma, Vientiane

3

Malaria in Southeast Asia frequently clusters along international borders. For example, while most of Thailand is malaria free, the border region shared with Myanmar continues to have endemic malaria. This spatial pattern is the result of complex interactions between landscape, humans, mosquito vectors, and malaria parasites. An understanding of these complex ecological and socio-cultural interactions is important for designing and implementing malaria elimination efforts in the region. This article offers an ecological perspective on the malaria situation along the Thailand-Myanmar border.

Concepts: Biodiversity, Malaria, Southeast Asia, Ecology, Thailand, Border, Burma, Borders

2

Gastrodia kachinensis, a new species of Orchidaceae, is described and illustrated from Putao, Kachin State, Myanmar. It is morphologically similar to G. gracilis, presumably its nearest relative, but can be easily distinguished from the latter by having perianth tube with punctate outer surface, verrucose outer surface of sepal lobe, orbicular petals, ovate-elliptic lip with truncate apex and auriculate-clawed base, glabrous lip apex with a pair of twin protuberance-like lamellae and column with a pair of blade-like lateral wings and acute stelidia at apex. Identification key and colour photographs are provided. A preliminary risk-of-extinction assessment, according to the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria, is given for the new species.

Concepts: Plant, Endangered species, Petal, Burma, IUCN Red List, Kachin State, Kachin