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Myanmar, Asia Pacific: Operational Plan 2021 - 2025

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Appeal №: MAAMM002 Funding requirements: 7.643 million CHF

This operational plan outlines the results that the IFRC wants to achieve in collaboration with the Myanmar Red Cross Society (MRCS) over a period of five years (2021-2025) in implementing IFRC Strategy 2030. The results are part of coherent and coordinated approach of IFRC support to MRCS’ Strategic Plan 2021-2025. The Rakhine plan of action aligns with this operational plan.


Context Myanmar is a country most at risk of humanitarian crises and natural disasters in the entire South-East Asia and continually faces many protracted crises hosting fragile communities in many parts of the country. Humanitarian needs are driven by multiple factors including armed conflict, community violence and vulnerability to natural hazards and disasters. The situation is aggravated by chronic poverty, gender disparities, erosion of social support networks, and underlying inequalities that exacerbate the needs, vulnerabilities, and marginalization of people in many parts of the country.

More than 985,000 people in Myanmar need humanitarian assistance. Within this total figure, 864,000 people are experiencing critical problems related to physical and mental wellbeing and approximately 973,000 have critical problems related to living standards. Regions and States with the highest levels of vulnerability include Shan, Kachin, Ayeyarwady, Chin and Rakhine. The most vulnerable groups are affected with a combination of poor housing, lack of education, poor educational attainment, lack of access to adequate health services and nutrition, safe drinking water and sanitation. Limited livelihoods and lack of food security are also key factors, along with direct exposure to conflict. In townships directly affected by conflict, living standards, on average are 23 per cent lower than in nonconflict affected areas. Displacement in Myanmar is affecting communities in 5 states. In Kachin, Kayin and Shan states, with prolonged armed conflicts more than 112,000 people are still displaced following clashes between armed groups and security forces.

In Rakhine State, multiple factors are generating both temporary and protracted displacements. 131,000 people remain in IDP camps in Central Rakhine since 2012. A further 89,564 are displaced across 10 Townships across Rakhine State and 1 Township in Chin State as of 7 September 2020 due to ongoing conflict between the Myanmar Military and Arakan Army. An estimated 740,000 people from Northern Rakhine remain displaced into camp settings in Bangladesh following the events of August 2017.

Although in recent history, Myanmar has undergone significant transition, from 2011, after years of conflict and isolation, there is a transition from a military regime to a more democratic government. There is also a transition to a more market-oriented economy. A further social transition is underway as Myanmar emerges from decades of relative isolation from the Global community. There have been measurable improvements in social welfare since 2011. Poverty almost halved, falling from 48 percent to 25 percent between 2005 and 2017.

The COVID-19 pandemic outbreak in January 2020 has not spared Myanmar. Economic growth is expected to instead decline sharply in 2019/20 to 2.0 percent due to direct and indirect impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. This would have much greater effects in terms of public health measures and economic activity resulting in deep local impacts in rural and urban areas, household economy, farm and non-farm sectors, and among already vulnerable groups. It has worsened the situation, jeopardising the health, physical, mental, and social wellbeing of the vulnerable and fragile communities in a very short timeframe just like other countries across the world. However, Myanmar’s context requires a multi-dimensional humanitarian response and development nexus in its programming approach unlike in more stable environments With a total landmass of 676 578 Myanmar is the largest country in the mainland of Southeast Asia. It has a population of 52 million (2014 Census Report). Its coastline of approximately 2,000 km covers almost the entire east coast of the Bay of Bengal. In the 2019 Human Development Index (HDI)1, Myanmar ranks as 146 out of 189, a slight change from 148 out of 188 in 2018.

Myanmar is particularly exposed to cyclones, tropical storms and tsunamis, rainfall-induced flooding and landslides are a perennial occurrence across the country, with extreme weather conditions it is also susceptible to heatwave such as the one experienced in 2010 were 230 people lost their lives . Being situated on several fault lines, earthquakes, occur frequently from January to July. The largest recording of earthquake so far is 5.3 magnitude on the Richter scale (Myanmar Department of Hydrology and Meteorology). According to the 2020 Index for Risk Management (INFORM), which measures risk as a function of hazard and exposure, vulnerability and coping capacity, Myanmar ranks 18th in the world but second in Asia-Pacific and is under a high -risk category. According to the World Risk Report 2017, Myanmar has a World Risk Index of 9.06, which is considered a high risk.

Climate change is another major challenge contributing to increased humanitarian needs in Myanmar. The Global Climate Risk Index 2020 ranks Myanmar as the second country most affected by extreme weather events in the world in the period 1998 to 2018. Myanmar is also one of the high risks and vulnerable countries in terms of COVID-19.

According to Global Health Security Index, Myanmar scores only 43.4 due to its weak heath care system including its past and current testing and surveillance capacity, along with poor infrastructure in healthcare facilities, make the risk and potential consequences/impact quite high, including food and nutrition insecurity, violence, inter-community tensions that results in displacement and migration. The situation is worsened by chronic poverty and lack of access to basic services such as health, potable water and sanitation resulting in increasing vulnerability.

Disasters are threat multipliers for fragility. Disasters may strike anywhere but have particularly devastating effects in fragile contexts, which have heightened exposure to risk and insufficient coping capacity to manage, absorb or mitigate. The impacts of climate change are expected to increase both the frequency and intensity of the Extreme weather events. in the Central Dry Zone Area, the Delta Region and the Coastal Areas. The potential economic impacts on livelihoods as well as overall regional economic growth are significant. Taking into consideration, the increased threat on livelihood from natural disasters along with the socio-economic consequences of COVID-19, the period 2020-2025 indicates a need for sustained investment in programs which are in line with the MRCS Strategy 2025, to continue to reduce vulnerabilities and build resilience in communities most affected by crisis and disasters.