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Myanmar Humanitarian Update No. 18 | 31 May 2022

May 31st, 2022  •  Author:   United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs  •  5 minute read
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HIGHLIGHTS & KEY MESSAGES

• For the first time, the number of displaced men, women and children in Myanmar has exceeded one million. This includes almost 700,000 people displaced by the conflict and insecurity since the military takeover in February last year.

• The monsoon season is now in full swing with strong storms and heavy rain hitting Rakhine, Kachin, southern Shan, and Kayin since April, causing damage to shelters and further compounding existing vulnerabilities.
Humanitarian responses and preparedness efforts are underway in high-risk areas.

• Humanitarians continue providing critical life-saving assistance to the most vulnerable people despite access challenges and limited funding. During the first quarter of 2022, 2.6 million people were reached with humanitarian assistance (41 per cent of the 2022 HRP target).

• Inflation in commodity prices, including food, fuel, shelter materials and NFIs, has become a major concern to partners in addressing the needs of the most vulnerable people.

• The Nutrition Cluster is facing possible pipeline breaks for both preventative and therapeutic nutrition supplies due to under-funding and taxation issues. Resolution of taxation issues for humanitarian supplies is an urgent priority.

• Funding for agriculture support to vulnerable farmers is a priority for food security partners with fears that this lack of investment in livelihoods assistance could lead to food unavailability and unaffordability in rural areas.

• Funding has been secured for 270 out of the 550 IDP camp longhouses that need immediate reconstruction in Rakhine. However, there remains a $2.4 million funding gap to repair the remaining 281 longhouses as the monsoon season arrives.

• The funding situation for 2022 is now dire with the 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) only 10 per cent funded, 5 months into the year, leaving a gap of US$740m (FTS). All clusters are seriously underfunded, threatening their ability to respond to the growing needs and gaps in response.

SITUATION OVERVIEW

During the reporting period, various parts of Myanmar have witnessed an escalation in fighting, further entrenching the already fragile humanitarian situation. The impact on civilians is worsening daily with frequent indiscriminate attacks and incidents involving explosive hazards, including landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERWs). According to UN figures, the number of IDPs people since the 2021 military takeover s now exceeds 694,300, bringing the overall number of displaced people across the country to more than one million. 2 Thousands of IDPs who have already fled their homes are being forced to move for a second or third time. An estimated 40,200 people have crossed the borders into neighbouring countries since the takeover.3 More than 12,700 civilian properties, including houses, churches, monasteries, and schools are estimated to have been destroyed during hostilities, although figures are difficult to verify.4 This will make IDP returns more difficult even if the situation improves. Consequently, complex needs are surfacing, requiring immediate humanitarian responses to save lives and protect those affected, supporting them to live in dignified conditions.

In addition to this constant risk and fear they are enduring daily, thousands of people across the country are living in distress due to the increasing price of essential commodities, including food and fuel, partly due to the conflict in Ukraine which has impacted global supplies. The price of diesel soared by 20 per cent from February to March 2022, and by another seven per cent from March to April 2022.5 On average, as of mid-April 2022, fuel prices are nearly two and a half times higher than February 2021. 6 This inflation has affected people’s purchasing power and is starting to impact on the work of several clusters, particularly food security and shelter, who depend on commodities to implement their humanitarian programming. Some clusters are facing issues with their suppliers who are no longer honoring contracts because of the price increases.

On top of the continued fighting, strong storms and heavy rain have already hit coastal areas of the country, mainly lowlying areas in Rakhine, Kayin, Kachin and Shan states, since April this year, causing varying degrees of damage to civilian structures, including houses and shelters. This has further compounded pre-existing vulnerabilities of the affected people, particularly IDPs in protracted displacement sites. Humanitarian actors, including local partners, have immediately reached affected families, where possible repairing the damage and providing tarpaulins and emergency NFIs, but the needs far exceed existing resources, capacities and access. Preparedness efforts by both humanitarian actors and the de facto authorities have been underway since the first quarter of 2022 (see details in article below). More funding is critically needed to ensure efficient responses in the event of a wide-scale natural disaster.

Across the country, humanitarian actors, including the UN, INGOs, and local partners, continue responding to both preexisting and emerging needs wherever possible, providing critical life-saving assistance in spite of the constrained operational environment and limited funding. As of the end of the first quarter of 2022, 2.6 million people had been reached with humanitarian assistance. This represents 41 per cent of the people targeted (6.2 million) in the 2022 HRP7 demonstrating the humanitarian community’s capacity to scale-up logistically when access and funding are available.
The funding situation for 2022 is now dire with the Humanitarian Response Plan only 10 per cent funded, 5 months into the year, leaving a gap of US$740m (FTS). The consequences will be grave if this level of underfunding continues in the remainder of 2022. Humanitarian partners will be forced to cut back on their support at a time when this assistance is needed the most, particularly as the monsoon season is just getting underway.


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