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Myanmar Humanitarian Update No. 33 | 2 October 2023

October 2nd, 2023  •  Author:   UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs  •  5 minute read
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HIGHLIGHTS & KEY MESSAGES

  • Ongoing conflict and monsoon floods continue to cause new displacement, civilian casualties, and destruction of civilian properties, further worsening the already dire humanitarian situation in Myanmar.
  • Nearly two million people are now internally displaced in precarious conditions and require lifesaving assistance.
  • The threat to civilians from explosive ordnance is spreading with new data showing that for the first time, landmine casualties have now been recorded in every state and region, except Nay Pyi Taw.
  • Local and international humanitarian partners continue to scale up and adapt in response to the deepening needs, reaching at least 1.8 million people during the first half of 2023.
  • Access and administrative restrictions are causing prolonged delays or postponements of scheduled relief efforts, further compounding the suffering of affected and displaced communities.
  • To date, the combined US$887 million Humanitarian Response Plan and Cyclone Mocha Flash Appeals remain critically underfunded, with only 28 per cent of the required funding received.
  • Provision of additional financial support and easing of access restrictions are imperative for the humanitarian community to address urgent needs.

SITUATION OVERVIEW

Nine months into 2023, humanitarian needs and protection risks have intensified throughout the country, driven by persistent conflict that has led to unprecedented levels of displacement, extensive property damage, and the expanding presence of landmines, particularly in the Northwest and Southeast. The United Nations Development Programme’s Myanmar Information Management Unit (MIMU), in collaboration with the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), has produced its annual map for 2023 of townships with suspected contamination by anti-personnel landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW). Since 2021, for the first time, contamination by anti-personnel landmines has been reported in all states and regions except Nay Pyi Taw.

Now, the latest data reveals that casualties due to landmines have occurred in every state and region of Myanmar, except Nay Pyi Taw and Yangon.

Nearly two million people remain internally displaced across the country – many of them multiple times. They face increase risks from explosive ordnance while they are on the move or staying in unfamiliar areas. In addition, more than 63,000 people remain displaced across borders into neighbouring countries since the 2021 military takeover.
Humanitarian partners are increasingly concerned about the SAC’s gradual implementation of the national IDP camp closure policy with many people being pushed to return to their places of origin or other locations even where this is against their wishes and is premature given the current security conditions. During the reporting period, approximately 100 out of 500 displaced families living in sites slated for camp closure in Kyauktaw township in Rakhine in 2023, had to return to their places of origin. The remaining IDPs face pressure to return by the end of the rainy season.

Displaced families who were moved from the Kyauk Ta Lone IDP camp in Kyaukpyu township to a nearby relocation site, have been facing persistent flooding issues. In total, more than 50,000 IDPs nationwide are estimated to be at risk of premature return in 2023, particularly in Rakhine, Chin and Shan. They face potential protection concerns, lack of livelihood opportunities, absence of social services, and inadequate shelter in villages affected by conflict. Many IDPs are expressing fears about safety in their home villages in conflict areas where there is often ongoing fighting and significant explosive ordnance contamination. Sustained access to those who have been prematurely returned, reclassified or relocated by the State Administration Council under this policy remains crucial so that conditions and needs can be monitored, and assistance is not interrupted. Humanitarians continue to stress that any return, relocation, or reclassification of IDPs from displacement camps and sites must be safe, voluntary, informed and dignified, taking into account the wishes of affected people and the prospects for sustainable solutions that allow them to resume their normal lives.

Severe monsoon weather conditions also persist, triggering floods in multiple areas, mostly in the Northwest and Southeast, resulting in the destruction of civilian infrastructure, displacement and new humanitarian needs. Thousands of people sought refuge in evacuation centres or safer areas on higher ground in August, with most of them returning to their homes in September. Nevertheless, many remain in need of support as they have lost their homes and belongings due to flooding. Local and international partners have extended immediate assistance wherever access is possible.

Suffering is being exacerbated by significant access constraints, despite sporadic openings in some areas in recent months. Administrative and physical access limitations have intensified in the Southeast and Kachin, curtailing people’s ability to access critical services and impeding the distribution of aid to affected communities. In the face of these formidable challenges, at least 1.8 million people received humanitarian assistance in the first half of the year2.

However, the 2023 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) and Cyclone Mocha Flash Appeal remain severely underfunded, with only a fraction (27 per cent) of the total requirement secured. This shortfall jeopardizes comprehensive assistance delivery and negatively impacts vulnerable communities. Urgent and substantial funding is essential to alleviate suffering and enhance the resilience of the affected communities amid this multifaceted crisis.


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