This regular update, covering humanitarian developments from 28 July to 23 August, is produced by OCHA Myanmar in collaboration with the Inter-Cluster Coordination Group, UNHCR and WHO. The next update will be issued towards the end of September 2021.
• At least 125,000 people have been affected by monsoon floods since 21 July across various regions and states, according to local partners.
• Thousands of people have been displaced following armed clashes between the “People’s Defense Forces” (“PDF”) and Myanmar Armed Forces (MAF) in Sagaing Region, according to local partners.
• In Chin State, clashes between the MAF and “PDF” continue in and around Mindat Township.
As of 17 August, close to 16,700 people remain displaced in several townships in the area.
• In the south-eastern parts of the country, an estimated 141,200 people remain displaced, mostly in Kayah and Kayin states, due to clashes and insecurity since 1 February.
• Food insecurity is becoming an evolving concern, with reports of food shortage in displacement sites and communities in northern Shan and Rakhine states.
• In Shan State, population movement remains fluid, with new displacements and returns reported on a regular basis. More than 26,300 people have been displaced across the state since the beginning of 2021; about 6,400 of them remain displaced to date.
• Regular humanitarian programmes and COVID-19 related response continue across various parts of the country, despite access challenges and insecurity.
• As of 27 August, 45 per cent of the US$276.5 million requested under the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP), and over 10 per cent of the US$109 million requested under the Interim Emergency Response Plan have been funded, according to the FTS.
OVER 125,000 PEOPLE AFFECTED BY MONSOON FLOODS: Monsoon floods have been reported across the country since 21 July in a number of states and regions as torrential rains resulted in river overflows. As of midAugust, an estimated 125,000 people have been affected by flooding, mainly in Kachin, Kayin, Mon, Rakhine and eastern areas of Shan states as well as in Mandalay and Tanintharyi regions, according to local partners. There have also been reports of civilian deaths and injury, as well as damage and destruction to houses and other civilian property.
In Kachin State, flash floods and a landslide on 12 August reportedly destroyed at least 15 shelters in Maga Yang camp in Waingmaw Township, which hosts about 1,600 internally displaced people (IDP); one civilian was reportedly killed during the floods. Similarly, several townships in eastern areas of Shan State experienced flash floods and landslides between 11 and 18 August. A local community, three temporary displacement sites and a relocation site in Muse Township, which hosts around 350 displaced families have been affected. Similar incidents took place in Mogoke Township of Mandalay Region in the second week of August, with floods and landslides reportedly killing four persons, including a child, and washing away a number of houses. In Rakhine State, at least 10 villages in Toungup Township have been flooded due to heavy rains on 6 August, affecting some 1,300 houses, a hospital and paddy fields, according to local partners.
Heavy rains and floods have further aggravated an already extremely challenging situation in the south-eastern parts of the country. In Kayin State, at least five townships have been affected.
Another nine townships were affected by floods in Mon State, while in Tanintharyi Region, at least three townships have been affected.
Local humanitarian actors, volunteers and communities responded to the needs of affected families, including with organizing temporary shelter for those who had to be evacuated to safer areas. The floods have also damaged crops, and according to initial assessments, at least 2,000 acres of paddy fields in Kyainseikgyi Township in Kayin State have been impacted, with farmers facing difficulties with seeds and expenses to cover replanting of the paddy.
An additional 40,000 cultivated land has been affected across different states and regions, according to partners.
NEW DISPLACEMENT IN SAGAING REGION: An unconfirmed number of people, reported to be in thousands, have been displaced across at least six townships in Sagaing Region due to clashes between the MAF and the “PDF” and insecurity in recent weeks, according to various sources. The exact number of people displaced, and their current host locations is still difficult to verify due to access challenges, fluidity and the complex nature of the situation. According to initial information, many IDPs are hiding in nearby forests. There had been limited presence of humanitarian personnel in Sagaing Region prior to this worsening situation in the area. Humanitarian partners are making efforts to scale up coordination to assess needs and provide the necessary support to the newly displaced.
VOLATILE SITUATION IN THE SOUTH-EAST: The security situation in south-eastern Myanmar remains volatile, particularly across Kayah and Kayin as well as southern areas of neighbouring Shan State. Sporadic clashes between the MAF and the “Karenni Nationalities Defense Force” (“KNDF”), “PDFs” and “Karen National Liberation Army” (“KNLA”) continue to be reported. In Kayah State, hostilities between the MAF and the “KNDF” have increased up since 3 August in Bawlake, Demoso, Hpasawng, Hpruso and Loikaw townships. In the southern areas of Shan State, clashes between the alliance of “KNDF” with local “PDFs” and the combined forces of the MAF with the “Pa-O National Army” have also been reported in Pekon and Pinlaung townships. In Kayin State, armed clashes, including artillery fire, have been reported between the “KNLA” and the alliance of the MAF with the Border Guard Force (BGF) in Hpapun Township since 1 August. Sporadic small-scale clashes between the MAF and the “KNLA” and “PDFs” have also been reported in Mon State, eastern Bago and Tanintharyi regions.
As of 23 August, UNHCR estimates that 141,200 people remained internally displaced across south-eastern Myanmar as a result of armed clashes and insecurity; this includes 75,300 in Kayah, 17,700 in southern Shan State (South- Pekon and Hsihseng townships), 47,100 in Kayin and 1,100 in Mon states. Population movement in affected areas remains fluid; initial reports indicated at least 4,000 people were newly displaced in Kayah State during the reporting period. Despite intermittent fighting, returns have been observed in Kayah State and Shan State (South) in recent weeks as IDPs did not have access to healthcare in the displacement areas and some of them needed to tend to farming in their areas of origin. Many IDPs were previously sheltered by host families and living in difficult, crowded and make-shift conditions with limited resources. Renewed or recurrent displacements from areas of return can be expected should the security situation deteriorate.
The majority of displaced populations and those otherwise affected by hostilities remain in need food, health care, shelter, WASH and protection services, despite the efforts of operational partners and local communities. UNHCR and partners, for example, have been able to distribute non-food items to around 10,000 individuals in Kayin State and Bago Region since 1 February. Mounting a comprehensive response, however, has been a challenge since the escalation of clashes due to access restrictions, caused by active conflicts, poor road conditions (including as a result of monsoon floods), COVID-19-related travel restrictions and bureaucratic impediments.
CONTINUED VIOLENCE IN AND AROUND MINDAT: The security situation in Chin State remains volatile with renewed and intense fighting reported between the MAF and “PDF” in Falam, Hakha, Matupi, Mindat and Thantlang townships. In Mindat Township, indiscriminate artillery shelling has been reported, which forced an unconfirmed number of people from Shet and Muitui villages as well as surrounding areas to flee to safer locations. The exact locations of people newly displaced and their humanitarian needs could not be identified due to access and communications challenges. As of 17 August, close to 16,700 people remained displaced in several townships in and around Chin State. Despite the volatile security situation, there have also been reports of small-scale returns among the displaced population, with some 2,170 people having returned to Thantlang during the reporting period.
Humanitarian assistance to people who remain displaced and those otherwise affected remains hindered. Food and non-food assistance have been distributed to the IDPs in urban Mindat in recent weeks; however, significant needs still remain, especially in the rural areas of Mindat and other townships in Chin State. This displacement is in addition to some 9,850 people who remain displaced across 27 sites in Paletwa Township in Chin State due to the earlier conflict between the MAF and the “Arakan Army” (“AA”).
FOOD SHORTAGE IN SHAN AND RAKHINE: Food insecurity is becoming an evolving humanitarian concern, with reports of food shortage in displacement sites and communities in northern Shan and Rakhine states. In Kutkai Township in northern Shan, urgent food needs have been reported in five relocation/resettlement sites in Mine Yu Lay Village, which hosts more than 1,000 IDPs since 2013. Similar food needs have been reported in other relocation sites across northern Shan, including Hseni and Kutkai and among local communities in Manton townships, since early August.
In Rakhine State, 900 IDPs in Kan Htaung Gyi displacement site in Myebon Township have been facing food shortage since June. Humanitarian partners reported being unable to deliver food assistance to the site due to access challenges and difficulties withdrawing cash. Food distributions in other displacement sites have also been delayed since July. Shortage of food has also been reported among some 200 IDPs in Bodawmaw Monastery displacement site in Sittwe Township, as well as at the Nyaung Chaung displacement site in Kyauktaw Township.
Despite these challenges, 1.2 million vulnerable people across various parts of Myanmar received food, cash and nutrition assistance since the beginning of 2021.
FLUID POPULATION MOVEMENT IN SHAN STATE: An estimated 4,000 people have reportedly been newly displaced in four townships in the southern and northern areas of Shan State during the reporting period due to armed clashes between the MAF and Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs) and among EAOs. In Kyaukme Township in northern areas of Shan State, close to 2,000 people from eight village tracts had fled from their home due to clashes between the “Restoration Council of Shan State” and the alliance of the “Shan State Progress Party” with the “Ta’ang National Liberation Army”; a further 170 people in Man Yang Village Tract in Muse Township were displaced due to clashes between the MAF and the “Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army”. There have also been displacements in Kyethi and Mongkaing townships in southern areas of Shan State.
Meanwhile, IDP returns in areas where the security situation improved continue to be reported. For example, in Kyethi Township, close to 4,200 IDPs were able to return to their villages of origin during the reporting period. There were small-scale returns in other townships during the reporting period. Since the beginning of 2021, about 20,000 people have managed to return out of more than 26,300 persons who have been internally displaced across 15 townships in Shan State.