This regular update, covering humanitarian developments from 1 February to 15 March, is produced by OCHA Myanmar in collaboration with the Inter-Cluster Coordination Group and UNHCR. The next humanitarian update will be issued in April 2022.
HIGHLIGHTS & KEY MESSAGES
- Civilians continue to bear the brunt of the conflict, which has further escalated in northwest and southeast Myanmar.
- As of 14 March 2022, there were an estimated 889,900 Internally Displaced People (IDPs) across Myanmar including 519,500 people newly displaced since the military takeover and 370,400 IDPs in protracted displacement from previous crises. Overall displacement figures fluctuated during the month in light of recent small-scale and often shortlived returns.
- Humanitarian actors continue providing critical lifesaving assistance to displaced people and host communities wherever they can, including through local partners amid serious access challenges.
Increasing challenges are being reported by clusters around transportation of supplies into conflict areas.
- An inter-agency mission in Kachin and northern Shan has identified significant response gaps and escalating needs due to protracted displacement from continuing armed confrontations between the Myanmar Armed Forces (MAF) and Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs) and among different EAOs.
- Preparedness efforts and COVID-19 preventative supplies provided by humanitarian partners have contributed to management of the fourth wave in February. After a surge in February, new cases have slowed in early March.
- Additional funding for the 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) which requests US$826 million to reach 6.2 million people in need of life-saving support is critical. Almost a quarter of the way into the year, a number of clusters are reporting major resource gaps with no funding yet received by some sectors in 2022.
Internally displaced persons across Myanmar
People currently displaced across Myanmar by clashes and insecurity since February 2021
People remain internally displaced in Rakhine, Kachin, Chin and Shan due to conflict before February 2021
Estimated civilian properties, including houses, churches, monasteries and schools burnt or destroyed since February 2021.
The security and humanitarian situations remained tense across Myanmar during the reporting period. Armed clashes between the Myanmar Armed Forces (MAF) and Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs), and People’s Defense Forces (PDFs) have continued unabated in multiple states and regions, with heavy weapons, including airstrikes and artillery fire in various locations, resulting in casualties among the civilian population, destruction of properties and further displacement.
Civilians have been injured and killed by shelling, gunfire, landmines, explosive remnants of war (ERW), and unexploded ordnance (UXO). Since the military takeover, at least 1,600 people, including over 100 children, have been killed, and thousands injured or maimed according to OHCHR. Landmines and other ERW and UXO are an increasing concern as growing numbers of displaced people move through conflict areas. In 2021, 88 civilians, including 19 women and 19 children, were killed and another 196 people, including 33 women and 55 children, were injured from landmines and ERW, according to UNICEF. Shan State recorded the highest (38 per cent) of the total casualties, followed by Rakhine (17 per cent) and Kachin (18 per cent) states. Children represented 27 per cent of casualties from landmine and ERW incidents countrywide. In the past year, many families have been forced to flee their homes and villages, often more than once, for safety with a surge in displacement in January, February and early March 2022.
Across Myanmar, as of 14 March 2022, 889,900 people remain displaced. This includes 519,500 people displaced by conflict and insecurity since 1 February. The majority of IDPs are women and girls. The fighting has also caused unprecedented destruction of civilian properties, including houses, across the country. As of 7 March 2022, more than 5,640 houses, churches, monasteries, schools, and markets had been either burnt down or destroyed across Myanmar, mainly in Chin and Kayah states and Sagaing and Magway regions.
Prices for basic commodities have significantly increased compared to December 2021, building off an already highlevel post-takeover, largely due to increased fuel costs, deteriorating exchange rates, transport and import restrictions, and supply disruptions caused by insecurity, adding an additional burden on families. Between February 2021 and February 2022, the prices of basic food items increased by nearly 30 per cent across Myanmar. Nearly half the population (46 per cent) is estimated to be living in poverty in 2022 according to UNDP. COVID-19 continues to add additional suffering and complexity with a fourth wave still impacting the country, although case numbers have started to subside in early March. Women are carrying an unequal economic burden from both the pandemic and the political situation as households struggle to make ends meet. Reports from the World Bank and International Labour Organization (ILO) show that the socio-economic impact of the crisis has disproportionately affected women and girls. According to the ILO, 580,000 women were estimated to have lost their employment within the first six months of 2021.
To address this unprecedented situation, humanitarian actors in Myanmar have prepared a Humanitarian Response Plan for 2022, requesting US$826 million to reach 6.2 million people in need of life-saving humanitarian support. Fifty two (52) per cent of the people targeted are women. The Plan remains desperately underfunded (see cluster section for sectoral breakdowns of funding gaps).
Annually, 8 March marks International Women’s Day and is a global opportunity to celebrate women achievements, raise awareness on women’s equality, and lobby for accelerated gender parity. This year’s theme was “gender equal today for a sustainable tomorrow”. The United Nations in Myanmar issued a statement on this day reiterating “its commitment to put women and girls at the centre of its development and humanitarian response to the ongoing crises in the country, to ensure that their needs are met, and to support their role and agency in shaping a future path for their country.” To achieve this, humanitarian actors need the urgent financial support of donor member states to save the lives and future of millions of women and girls in Myanmar.