Armed conflict between the Myanmar Armed Forces (MAF) and the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), an armed wing of the Karen National Union, continues unabated in the south-eastern parts of Myanmar resulting in new population displacement, mostly in Kayin State. During the reporting period, about 2,000 people from several villages in Hpa-pun District in Kayin State reportedly fled across the border to Thailand’s Mae Hong Son Province. The displacement was triggered by multiple airstrikes by the MAF and insecurity in the area, according to local sources. People who fled are in need of immediate humanitarian assistance, with reports that heavy rain on 29 April washed away their food supplies and other belongings. According to information gathered from various sources by UNHCR, the new displacement comes in addition to about 40,000 people displaced to and within south-eastern parts of the country, mostly in Kayin State, and many since late March 2021, due to insecurity and armed clashes between the MAF and the KNLA. This included about 3,000 people who had crossed the border into Thailand in late March and subsequently returned to Myanmar by mid-April. Humanitarian actors are making efforts to provide assistance and protection services to the displaced population, but access and insecurity continue to be challenges.
Heavy rains have triggered a number of landslides in the past week. Five people died and eight others are missing following landslides on 29 April in South Tapanuli Regency in North Sumatra. Another landslide in Sukabumi Regency in West Java on 1 May killed a 5-year-old child and two other people were injured. Search operations and the response to meet to the needs of affected people are being led by local government agencies and local organizations.
Pakistan is currently experiencing a major surge in COVID-19 and the number of cases has increased rapidly in recent weeks, with daily cases reaching a seven-day average of 5500 cases/day and 147 deaths/day last week, up from an average of 1100 cases/day and 25 deaths/day in February. The healthcare system has been impacted in the provinces of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, with hospitals reporting shortages of available beds, oxygen, and other essential supplies. The Government has announced the imposition of stricter ‘lockdown’ and movement restrictions with closures of public places and shopping areas. The Government has mobilized a major effort to ensure supply of critical medical supplies, while ensuring that the vaccination efforts are expanded to include additional segments of the population. To date, over 2 million people (1% of the total population) have been vaccinated across the country, including persons above 50 years and frontline healthcare workers.
About 4,600 civilians were forced to flee their homes in the town of Mamasapano, Mindanao, on 27 April following continuing military operations against the non-state armed group Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Maguindanao Province. Mortar attacks carried out by BIFF in the town of Datu Saudi Ampatuan on 28 April resulted in the death of two women and the displacement of 3,900 residents. The fresh skirmishes come after a three-week lull which saw the closure of evacuation camps and the return of more than 48,000 people to their places of origin. According to the latest provincial government data, approximately 19,100 people are still displaced in 30 evacuation centers with additional 16,600 staying outside of formal camps since the start of the security operations on 18 March. The Mindanao Humanitarian Team is liaising with provincial authorities on the voluntary, safe, and dignified return of IDPs to their homes.