In response to COVID-19, UNICEF continues to support the Ministry of Health and Sports’ Health Literacy Promotion Unit to translate and disseminate messages including in ethnic languages for the border areas on good hygiene and handwashing. Social media boosting and message dissemination reach approximately 15 million people countrywide.
UNICEF Myanmar received $175,000 in emergency response funds to begin COVID-19 communication and preparedness activities. Though there are no laboratory-confirmed cases in Myanmar at the time of reporting, Myanmar remains a high-risk country given the proximity to China, trade and population movements between the countries. The Government is increasing efforts to improve the capacity in hospitals to treat severe/critical cases in the event of a large outbreak.
On 13 February an artillery shell hit a school in northern Rakhine, injuring at least 17 children. UNICEF issued a statement calling for parties to the conflict to protect children and civilian facilities, and to exercise restraint.
Situation in Numbers
362,000 children in need of humanitarian assistance (HNO 2020)
986,000 people in need (HNO 2020)
274,000 internally displaced people (HNO 2020)
470,000 non-displaced stateless in Rakhine
Funding Overview and Partnerships
UNICEF appeals for US$46.04 million to sustain provision of critical and life-saving services for children and their caregivers in Myanmar. UNICEF received $4.9 million from the Government of Japan in February for humanitarian needs in Kachin, Shan and Rakhine States and would like to express our sincere thanks for this contribution. Details of UNICEF’s remaining budget requirements can be found in Annex B below and include significant requirements for all of UNICEF/Myanmar’s ongoing emergency programmes including Child Protection, WASH, Health, Nutrition and Education.
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
The situation in Rakhine and Chin States worsened in February with significant fighting between the Arakan Army and the Myanmar military causing injuries and deaths among civilians as well as additional displacement. In central Rakhine, the dry season, which followed a shortened monsoon season, has triggered alarms for upcoming water shortages— particularly in the vulnerable Pauktaw IDP camps which appear to be running dry earlier than expected. In northern Shan State, sporadic fighting continues but has not cause significant displacement in recent weeks.
No confirmed cases of the 2019 novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Myanmar have been reported to date (as of 12 March 2020). However, the World Health Organization notes that it’s biologically plausible that there are cases in country which remain undetected. The focus remains on screening and preparedness with sustained efforts to improve awareness and hygiene behaviours throughout the country. In addition to national coordination mechanisms, UNICEF participated in a one-day State Health Department workshop on preparedness planning for COVID -19 in Kachin State during which the government acknowledged challenges in screening and response capacity in non-government-controlled areas which share a porous border with China. Similar meetings are happening in other states and regions as well.