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Myanmar: Intensification of Clashes Flash Update #10 (as of 15 December 2023)

December 15th, 2023  •  Author:   UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs  •  3 minute read
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• Fighting between the Myanmar Armed Forces (MAF) and various groups, including Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs) and People’s Defence Forces (PDFs), persists across much of the country.

• More than 660,000 people are estimated to have been newly displaced since the escalation of armed conflict on 27 October, with some people displaced several times and others already starting to return home. Total current displacement now stands at 2.6 million people nationwide.

• The volatile context is generating significant protection risks including increased civilian casualties, arbitrary arrests, exploitation, forced recruitment and forced labour.

• Food, safe shelter, non-food items and hygiene kits, basic health services and protection support remain priorities with shortages of essential supplies being reported in many areas due to commercial and humanitarian transport blockages.

• Despite insecurity, access, and telecommunication challenges, provision of essential humanitarian assistance to affected people continues where possible using a variety of flexible approaches. Humanitarian partners have now reached more than 80 per cent of those displaced in northern Shan.

• The UN and partners continue to seek to access a greater proportion of affected people. An inter-agency mission was completed to Wa earlier in December and another is approved for the delivery of assistance to IDPs in southern Shan.

• Despite surging needs, the 2023 Humanitarian Response Plan is just 29 per cent funded days before the end of the year. An urgent injection of funds is desperately needed to sustain the response into the new year.

Situation Overview

Conflict between the MAF and multiple armed groups, including EAOs and PDFs, persists in many parts of the country involving armed clashes, airstrikes and artillery shelling and causing a surge in civilian casualties, displacement and destruction of civilian properties in numerous townships. Unverified field reports indicate that at least 378 civilians, including men, women, and children, have reportedly been killed and 505 others have been injured since the escalation began in late October. Since the intensification, more than 660,000 people are estimated to have been newly displaced in northern and southern Shan, Kayah, Rakhine, Chin, Sagaing, Mandalay, eastern Bago, Kayin, Mon, and Tanintharyi. There have been reports of some displaced people returning home while others have moved multiple times for safety. Some are reportedly reluctant to leave current displacement sites in northern Shan due to the risk of forced recruitment. Total current displacement nationwide now stands at a record 2.6 million people.

The movement of people and transportation of goods is being heavily curtailed, while interruptions to phone and internet services are impacting on the sharing of civilian safety information and humanitarian operations. The lack of humanitarian and commercial access to transport routes is creating a scarcity of food, shortages of essential household items, soaring commodity prices and a fuel crisis in affected areas. Partners have identified the most urgent humanitarian needs across conflict-affected areas as food, safe shelter, non-food items and hygiene kits, basic health services and protection support.

Faith-based organizations and local responders, in collaboration with international organizations, continue to provide lifesaving assistance to displaced and affected communities wherever access is possible. Despite an extremely challenging operational context, including supply stockpiles that are heavily depleted due to underfunding, access constraints and the rapid and unpredictable escalation of needs, humanitarian partners are reaching growing numbers of affected people. The vast majority of displaced people in northern Shan (82,000) have now received assistance and work continues to expand the response in other impacted areas such as the Northwest where 50,000 people have already been reached. A rapid response allocation of US$7 million from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) will provide survival support to people most affected in the coming weeks.

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