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Myanmar Emergency Update (as of 4 March 2024)

March 28th, 2024  •  Author:   UN High Commissioner for Refugees  •  3 minute read
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Three years after the events of 1 February 2021, widespread conflict continues to drive displacement and exacerbate needs across multiple states and regions in Myanmar. Intensified airstrikes, artillery shelling, drone attacks as well as the use of antipersonnel landmines and cluster bombs are impacting forcibly displaced people and host communities, particularly in Rakhine State and the North-West Region. Humanitarian access constraints continued to expose people to various protection risks and restrict the delivery of critical assistance and protection. Coping capacities have been stretched to the limit, with food, emergency shelter and core relief items (CRIs) identified as the most urgent needs. The recent announcement of mandatory conscription by the de facto authorities has sparked fear among young men and women and an uptick in the number of people fleeing Myanmar into neighbouring countries, including Bangladesh. UNHCR continues to call for states to respect the principle of non-refoulement and advocate for access to safety and asylum as well as lifesaving and emergency services for Rohingya arrivals from Myanmar.

In Thailand, no new arrivals were recorded by the Royal Thai Government in February. Nevertheless, to support preparedness efforts, the Inter-Sector Working Group launched the 2024 Refugee Preparedness and Response Plan, an inter-agency document based on agreed scenarios and contingency planning discussions to support Thai authorities’ response. In view of the current situation in Myanmar, 15 humanitarian agencies are planning for up to 40,000 arrivals from Myanmar by year-end.

The response focuses on seven sectors – education, food, health, CRIs, protection, shelter and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) – with a total ask of some $17 million.

In India, approximately 59,300 individuals from Myanmar’s North-West region have sought protection since February 2021.

Out of this population, 5,682 individuals are in New Delhi and have registered with UNHCR. During the reporting period, the Union Home Minister of India announced plans to fence the India-Myanmar border and discontinue the Free Movement Regime (FMR), citing rising insecurity. India and Myanmar currently share a largely unfenced border giving people from both countries residing close to the border the right to move into each other’s territory without travel documents. On 17 February, the Mizoram Chief Minister expressed the state government’s opposition to these plans and on 28 February, the Mizoram assembly passed a resolution urging the Government of India to reconsider its decision. A five-member non-governmental organization (NGO) coordination committee in Mizoram also submitted a memorandum to the Union Home Minister opposing the proposal. In Manipur, the Chief Minister announced plans to identify and deport individuals who arrived and established residence in the state after 1961 due to the current instability and insecurity. The security situation in Manipur remains sensitive with incidents of violence and gunfights being reported from across the state. Despite the mounting humanitarian needs Myanmar arrivals in Mizoram and Manipur face, state governments and humanitarian agencies do not have sufficient resources to sustain the food, shelter, and WASH response. Access challenges due to the security situation and mobility restrictions in some locations in Manipur have also compounded the situation.

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