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Myanmar Humanitarian Needs Overview 2023 (January 2023)

January 15th, 2023  •  Author:   United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs  •  7 minute read
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Context, crisis, impacts and needs The people of Myanmar continue to pay a high price for two years of political instability, sparked by the 1 February 2021 military takeover of the democratically elected National League For Democracy (NLD) Government. The takeover unleashed an unprecedented political, socioeconomic, and humanitarian crisis on top of the continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, sending the country into a dangerous spiral of conflict and poverty. The political situation has prompted an escalation in fighting across the country, characterized by violations of iInternational Humanitarian Law (IHL) and International Human Rights Law (IHRL), including aerial bombardment, burning of homes,
and other indiscriminate attacks in civilian areas by the military, as well as use of land mines and other explosive ordnance (EO), and recruitment of minors by multiple armed actors. This has resulted in significant displacement, human suffering, asset depletion, rising food insecurity and reversal of many of the development gains made in recent years. Almost half the country is estimated to be living in poverty as a result of both the political situation and legacy impacts from the pandemic.

The spate of violence, including attacks and clashes, across Myanmar throughout 2022 had a severe impact on the physical and mental well-being of millions of people. Displacement surged to record levels in 2022. Nearly 1.2 million people have fled their homes since 1 February 2021, bringing the total number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Myanmar to a staggering 1.5 million as of 26 December 2022, with no signs that displacement is slowing down heading into 2023. On top of this, the rapid depreciation of the Myanmar Kyat, inflation, movement restrictions and active fighting are causing a reduction in food production and are pushing the price of food beyond the reach of many families.

Despite the immense needs and commitment of international and national organizations, humanitarian assistance and access to affected people remained heavily restricted in 2022, essentially increasing reliance on local networks of responders in conflict areas. Administrative barriers for travelauthorizations (TAs), incidents of detention and arrest of humanitarian actors, intimidation and harassment, and frequent security checkpoints all constrained humanitarian access to people in need in 2022. Restrictions on telecommunications and internet networks further hindered timely and safe humanitarian access and assistance to people in need.

Evolution of needs 2022-2023 With no respite from conflict or political and economic turbulence in sight, 2023 will be another year of dire struggle for the people of Myanmar. A total of 17.6 million people are expected to be in need of humanitarian assistance in 2023, up from 14.4 million last year and 1 million people before the military takeover. A third of those in need are children.

2023 is expected to witness continued political instability, ongoing or escalating armed conflict, persistent displacement, slow or stagnant economic growth, as well as continued interruptions and poor access to basic services. Continued or increased intensity and frequency of armed conflict will result in more communities being displaced: an additional 1.4 million people are projected to flee their homes in 2023, taking the total displaced population to 2.7 million. Protection risks, especially in hard-to-reach conflict areas, are expected to continue, including increased EO threats, forced recruitment, human trafficking, and human rights violations. Agricultural disruptions due to conflict and displacement, EO-contaminated land, and high input prices will have a serious impact on the national economy and food availability in the country.

The number of people experiencing food insecurity will rise to 15.2 million people in 2023, up from 13.2 million in 2022.

Scope of analysis Given the dramatic deterioration in the situation over the course of 2021 and 2022, the anticipated depth of needs in new areas, and the overall deterioration of the food security and livelihoods situation country- wide, the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) has continued using the broader, national analysis of the humanitarian situation and needs in Myanmar in2023. The 2023 numbers reflect the unprecedented scale and humanitarian consequences of the current crisis, especially for women and children and other vulnerable groups. The methodology and scope of analysis frame the situation in Myanmar as a whole- of-country, complex and multi-dimensional crisis, where there are grave protection concerns and risks, and food insecurity is deepening, requiring scaled-up humanitarian, nexus and development interventions to stop people slipping into more severe need, including acute malnutrition.

Population groups The HCT will continue to deploy a vulnerability-sensitive approach in 2023 covering displaced, returned, stateless and crisis-affected people where they have humanitarian needs. The approach covers those who are more directly “shock-affected,” such as displaced populations, returned, resettled, or integrated IDPs, and non-displaced stateless people. A broader group of “other crisis-affected people with humanitarian needs” includes those affected by natural disasters; IDP host communities; people living in high conflict areas with restricted access to basic services to support their own survival; people with severe protection needs (employing negative coping mechanisms; victims of trafficking, exploitation and the most vulnerable migrants with humanitarian needs; EO victims; people with multiple vulnerabilities); non-displaced people in moderate or severe food insecurity or those who are facing malnutrition, people affected by other severe shocks who are unable to support their own survival.

In a bid to more accurately reflect and plan for the scale of displacement and IDP needs, the HCT has projected likely displacement through until the end of 2023. While actual displacement as of 26 December 2022 stands at 1.5 million, the Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO) has anticipated that displacement will continue to grow at a similar rate as 2022 during 2023, meaning there would be 2.7 million people displaced and in need by year’s end. The Needs Monitoring and Analysis Working Group (NMA WG) used a combination of data to develop this common displacement planning figure including looking at movement trends, 2023 scenarios and assumptions,expert opinion, and a severity scale analysis on displacement drivers, trends, and the presence of armed groups. A similar planning figure has been projected for returns (512,000 people) and for those likely to need humanitarian assistance as a result of natural disasters in 2023 (50,000 people). This disaster impact figure was developed based on an analysis of historical trends which vary significantly from year-to- year, despite Myanmar being one of the most disaster- prone countries in the world.

This HNO applies protection, gender, age, disability, mental health, and accountability lenses to its analysis with sex and age disaggregated data used throughout, where it is available.

Humanitarian conditions, severity, and people in need The number of people estimated to have humanitarian needs was calculated using the globally-endorsed Joint Intersectoral Analysis Framework (JIAF) approach, which looks holistically at the needs facing people in Myanmar and measures the severity of these needs. This severity analysis shows that the spread of the crisis is such that the entire population of 56 million people is now facing some level of need.

Two thirds (67 per cent) are in stress, a quarter (23 per cent) are in severe need and almost one tenth (8 per cent) are facing extreme needs. In 2023, a much higher proportion of the population has been identified as being in these more serious needs categories compared to 2022, which is the result of the cumulative impact of expanding conflict, economic instability, negative coping strategies and unmet needs since the military takeover.

Two nationwide datasets were available and heavily relied on to inform this evidence-based analysis, providing a higher level of confidence in results than 2022 due to improved ability to verify and triangulate data. The first was a Multi-Sector Needs Analysis (MSNA) conducted across Myanmar for the first time using a hybrid approach with in person and remote data collection. The second was the latest round fo the joint Food Security and Livelihood Assessment by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP), conducted between August and September 2022 in 14 regions and states. Together, these nationwide datasets were used to determine the severity of need and intersectoral vulnerability calculations, as well as forming the basis for much of the sectoral needs analyses. The Food Security and Livelihood Assessment, conducted in 2021 and also in April 2022, allows for comparisons of the food security situation over time, while the MSNA allows for a multi-sectoral understanding of needs across population groups.

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