- Fighting continues to displace people in Rakhine and Shan States causing displacement of 3,700 people bringing the total displacement in the first two months of the year to approximately 7,500 people.
- Kachin State has not experienced armed conflict and resulting displacement since September 2018 resulting in the lowest level of fighting since 2016.
- UNICEF is restarting soap distributions in northern Rakhine State for approximately 100,000 people per month in coordination with food distributions by the World Food Programme. Over 37,400 metric tons has been transferred to the Rakhine office for these activities.
- On February 26, UNICEF signed an agreement with the Government of Japan which provides over US$7 million in support for UNICEF’s humanitarian activities in Kachin, Shan and Rakhine States.
SITUATION IN NUMBERS
# of children in need of humanitarian assistance (HNO 2019)
# of people in need (HNO 2019)
UNICEF Appeal 2019
US$ 59 million
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
February proved to be a turbulent month in northern Shan and Rakhine States with both locations tracking additional displacements. In Rakhine, fighting between the Arakan Army and Tatmadaw continued with fighting in five of the 17 townships. Fighting also continued in northern Shan state between armed ethnic organizations leading to the displacement in February of 3,700 people bringing the total displacement in the first two months of the year to approximately 7,500 people. In contrast, Kachin State has not experienced armed conflict since September 2018 resulting in the lowest level of fighting since 2016.
In Kachin, the unilateral ceasefire declared by the Myanmar Military (Tatmadaw) in December 2018 continues to hold. It is unclear if, when the ceasefire ends in April, fighting will restart. The Tatmadaw and Kachin State Government are encouraging people to leave IDP camps and return home or to other resettlement sites. Though similar encouragement has been given in the past, the lack of information among IDPs has created an environment of fear and anxiety in many locations. Though IDPs continue to state their desire to return to their place of origin, safety and security issues remain among the principal concerns.
In northern Shan, of the 7,500 people displaced, most have been able to return home. However more than 1,100 remain in camps or camp-like settings—due principally to fighting in Hsipaw and Kyaukme townships—most newly displaced are sheltering in monasteries and are receiving assistance from the local community, private donors and civil society organizations. Assistance has also been provided by some international organizations as well as the Government of Myanmar. IDPs noted the need for additional sanitation, bathing and washing facilities, sleeping mats and interagency partners expressed concern about the length of displacement given the volatility in these areas. Fighting and displacement continued in late February causing injuries to civilians and children.
In Rakhine State, fighting between the Arakan Army and the Tatmadaw continued with the use of explosive devices and shelling. In late February the fighting expanded into a sixth township, Mrauk-U, resulting in the temporary displacement of families, including women and children. Access in all six townships—Mrauk U, Kyawktaw, Ponnagyun, Rathedaung, Maungdaw and Buthidaung—remains limited to mainly urban areas for UNICEF and our partners. The clashes occurred on a near daily basis throughout February displacing over 6,000 people, primarily ethnic Rakhine, to villages, monasteries or camp-like settings. Interagency partners continue to face access restrictions in these areas and are tracking the impact of movement restrictions on both humanitarian and development programming. In addition to fighting within Rakhine State, the Arakan Army and Tatmadaw are fighting in Paletwa Township of southern Chin State. Fighting has thus far caused the displacement of approximately 500 people including ethnic Chin, Khami, Mor, and Rakhine.
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