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Myanmar Humanitarian Update No. 17 | 19 April 2022

April 19th, 2022  •  Author:   United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs  •  7 minute read
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This regular update, covering humanitarian developments up to 12 April, is produced by OCHA Myanmar in collaboration with the Inter-Cluster Coordination Group and UN agencies. The next humanitarian update will be issued in May 2022.

HIGHLIGHTS & KEY MESSAGES

• Across Myanmar, as of 11 April, 912,700 men, women and children remain displaced. This includes 566,100 people displaced by the conflict and insecurity since the military takeover in February last year. For the first time, displacement in the northwest has exceeded 300,000 people.

• Humanitarians continue providing critical life-saving assistance to displaced people and host communities wherever they can, including through local partners in the face of serious access constraints.

• Increasing challenges are being reported by clusters around roadblocks and checkpoints, transportation of supplies and incomplete coverage by local partners in several conflict areas.

• Despite access challenges and funding shortfalls, food security partners have reached 1.4 million people with life-saving assistance – a quarter of the Cluster’s target for 2022.

• The Nutrition Cluster is facing pipeline breaks for both preventative and therapeutic nutrition supplies as early as June.

• Amid escalating dangers from landmines and explosive ordnance in conflict areas, clusters have agreed to scale-up mainstreaming of risk education across all sectors.

• There remains high risk of transmission of acute watery diarrhoea (AWD) in protracted IDP camps in Rakhine amid significant WASH gaps, as well as reliance on water trucking, and potentially boating, at the peak of the dry season in some areas.

• Shelter repair gaps in Rakhine’s IDP camps are a significant concern heading into the monsoon season with more than 550 longhouses, sheltering more than 28,000 IDPs, considered structurally unsound and in urgent need of reconstruction.

• Preparedness plans are being updated ahead of the rainy season to ensure a timely and efficient response in the event of an emergency in high-risk areas.

• 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. Only 5 per cent ($37.2 million) of required funds have been received at the end of the first quarter of 2022 (FTS). All clusters are underfunded, which impedes their ability to respond to the growing needs and gaps in response.

KEY FIGURES

912K People internally displaced across Myanmar

566K People currently displaced by clashes and insecurity since February 2021

346K People internally displaced mainly in Rakhine, Kachin, Chin, and Shan due to conflict prior to February 2021

8K Civilian properties estimated burnt or destroyed since February 2021.

Displacement figures fluctuate during any given month. These figures represent the number of people currently displaced.
Cumulative numbers for returns and displacement are not always available.

SITUATION OVERVIEW

Ongoing fighting in the country’s east and northwest has exacerbated the humanitarian and displacement situation.
The use of heavy weapons, including airstrikes and artillery fire, as well as landmines and the presence of explosive remnants of war (ERW) continues to claim lives and pose risks to the safety and security of the civilian population, especially Internally Displaced People (IDPs). Since the military takeover, at least 1,600 people, including over 100 children, have been killed, and thousands injured or maimed according to Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).2 During the first two months of 2022, UNICEF recorded 53 casualties from landmines and ERW alone. (See page 5 of this update for more details)

Hundreds of thousands of men, women, boys and girls have fled their homes for safety since the February military takeover, many of them forced to move multiple times exposing people to grave protection risks. As of 11 April 2022, the number of new IDPs since the military takeover in 2021 stands at 566,100, according to UN figures, bringing the total number of IDPs across the country to 912,700. In addition, it is estimated that 36,100 people from Myanmar are currently displaced in neighbouring countries. This includes 34,500 in India and 1,600 in Thailand.

At least 8,262 houses and other civilian properties, including churches monasteries, schools, and markets have reportedly been either burnt down or destroyed, mainly in Sagaing and Magway regions and Chin and Kayah states. (See page 3 of this update for more details)

The stressful financial situation already facing many vulnerable families after COVID-19 and the recent conflict has been placed under further strain by fresh price rises, especially for fuel since the start of the conflict in Ukraine which has impacted on global supply. According to WFP price monitoring, the price of fuel has increased by 18 per cent from February to March 2022 and is more than double the price (up 133 per cent) compared to February 2021.3The next round of monthly data is expected to show even steeper hikes. This has serious implications for people’s ability to purchase food and other essentials and if it becomes protracted, will also have an impact on the cost of humanitarian operations in 2022. In the HRP 2022, clusters anticipated continued inflation (ranging from 15-35 per cent depending on the cluster) but the ICCG will conduct a fresh stocktake of these impacts in the coming weeks.

Against this backdrop of conflict, the monsoon season is now approaching, placing another burden on the lives of vulnerable and displaced people in high-risk areas and adding new urgency to addressing shelter and NFI funding gaps. While the first storm of the season reached the Rakhine coast with limited impact at the end of March, the weather system was a timely opportunity to refresh preparedness planning. In the lead up to the storm, the de facto Rakhine State authorities evacuated some 300 people to a primary school in Yone Ka Htoe village in Gwa township and at least 90 vulnerable IDPs, including elderly people and persons with disabilities, were relocated to cyclone shelters in Sittwe. The de facto authorities immediately activated the respective township-level Disaster Management Committees (DMCs), instructed Village Tract leaders to prepare cyclone shelters around camp areas to accommodate Rohingya IDPs in Sittwe and put in place a plan to relocate IDPs in Pauktaw township to high ground, if needed. Each district office of the Department of Disaster Management stored non-food items to cover 1,000 families as part of the initial response. Operational humanitarian partners in Rakhine immediately undertook preparedness activities at the sub-national level, disseminating disaster preparedness messages around cyclone, flood and landslide risks in Rohingya languages in camps in Sittwe and in Pauktaw townships. The Inter-Cluster Coordination Group (ICCG) also convened an emergency meeting in Yangon to take stock of preparedness actions before the storm hit. Humanitarian partners have been recently updating their national emergency response preparedness plans for 2022 in preparation for the monsoon season and in the event of an emergency, will coordinate with the relevant de facto authorities to ensure an immediate and efficient response.

Overall, humanitarian actors, in close coordination with local partners, continue providing critical life-saving assistance to the most affected people but face ongoing challenges in addressing urgent needs due to access constraints and funding shortfalls. To meet their obligations to people in need, humanitarian actors, including the UN, international and national NGOs, need quicker, simpler and more predictable access processes. Visa, banking, registration, and MOU blockages remain major obstacles to effective response and must urgently be resolved. It is critical that new banking rules introduced by the Central Bank on foreign currency transactions do not hamper the ability of humanitarian organizations from accessing funding for life-saving work. Significant funding gaps persist, a quarter of the way into 2022. To date, only 5 per cent ($37.1 million) of the $826 million requested in the 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan, has been received (FTS). Continued underfunding of this magnitude will have life-threatening consequences for millions of people in 2022. Donors are urged to give generously, in solidarity with the people of Myanmar to save lives and protect hard-fought development gains while there is still a window to do so. Donors and funding recipients are also reminded of the importance of up-to-date and complete reporting of funding flows to the Financial Tracking Service to ensure that a clear picture of gaps is available to support decision-making.


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