This regular update, covering humanitarian developments from 24 June to 27 July, is produced by OCHA Myanmar in collaboration with the Inter-Cluster Coordination Group and UNHCR and WHO. The next update will be issued towards the end of August 2021.
• An estimated 170,200 people remain displaced in south-eastern parts of Myanmar due to violence, armed clashes and insecurity since 1 February. This includes around 121,400 people displaced in Kayah State and neighboring townships of southern areas of Shan State following an escalation of clashes since 21 May.
• In Chin State, clashes continued in and around Mindat Township over the course of July and more than 18,100 persons remain internally displaced in over 100 sites in Chin State and in neighboring Magway and Sagaing regions.
• In Shan State, population movement remains fluid, with new displacements and small-scale returns recorded during the reporting period. A total of 22,000 people have been displaced across north and southern parts of Shan State since the beginning of 2021; about 7,000 of them remain displaced across 33 temporary sites.
• Continuous rains resulted in floods affecting several townships across Rakhine State and parts of south-eastern Myanmar. A number of fatalities have been reported and several thousand people were affected or displaced, according to initial reports.
• An Interim Emergency Response Plan has been developed and seeks US$109 million to reach an additional 2 million people with prioritized emergency humanitarian response activities beyond the scope of the 2021.
• More funds have been secured for humanitarian response in Myanmar and as of 29 July, 42 per cent of the US$276.5 million requested under the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) has been funded, according to the FTS. However, strengthened donor support is necessary to address the over 50 per cent funding gap.
3 MILLION PEOPLE NEED HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE IN MYANMAR: About 3 million people need humanitarian assistance and protection services across various parts of Myanmar. This includes about 1 million people living in conflict-affected areas in Chin, Kachin, Kayin, Mon, northern Shan and Rakhine identified at the start of 2021 in the HRP. An additional 2 million people are targeted for humanitarian assistance and protection services, as part of the recently developed Interim Emergency Response Plan. The Plan mainly focuses on people in urban and peri-urban areas in Yangon and Mandalay, as well as those displaced or otherwise affected in Chin and Kayin states since 1 February.
The Plan will ensure a coordinated approach to respond to people’s food and nutrition needs, water, sanitation and hygiene, education, shelter, health and a wide range of protection services, such as Child Protection and prevention and response to Gender-Based Violence (GBV). The Plan will integrate COVID-19 related prevention and response in its programming.
The Interim Emergency Response Plan aims to complement the existing HRP and ensures an operational planning framework for humanitarian partners to coordinate response. The Plan identifies an additional US$109 million in emergency humanitarian programming to be implemented until the end of 2021. These requirements are in addition to the $276.5 million requested through the 2021 HRP. As of 30 July, US$7.8 million has been received against the total requirements under the Interim Plan, which represents 7 per cent of funding.
FLUID POPULATION MOVEMENT IN THE SOUTHEAST: The security situation in south-eastern Myanmar remains tense, with sporadic clashes between the Myanmar Armed Forces (MAF) and Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs) or the “People’s Defense Forces” (“PDFs”) reported in Kayah, Kayin and Mon states and eastern Bago and Tanintharyi regions. In Kayah State, about 5,000 people from 11 villages in Loilen Lay Town in eastern part of Loikaw Township have been displaced on 12 July, following clashes between the MAF and the “Karenni Nationalities Defense Force”, a coalition of the “Karenni Army” and the “PDFs”.
UNHCR estimates that about 170,200 persons have been internally displaced since 1 February in south-eastern Myanmar. This includes some 121,400 displaced in Kayah and southern areas of Shan states (Hsihseng and Pekon townships), about 47,700 in Kayin State, including 7,000 people who had returned after having fled to Thailand between April and May but who remain internally displaced, and a further 1,100 in Mon State. According to public sources, 69 civilians have been killed, about 160 houses and 8 churches destroyed in Kayah and southern areas of Shan states due to the hostilities that have erupted in May. Details of these incidents could not be verified due to access challenges and security concerns.
The humanitarian situation in the area remains dire, as the majority of displaced populations, who are unable to return due to ongoing hostilities, continue to experience significant challenges in accessing basic needs due to various constraints, including limited humanitarian access.
Humanitarian partners continue to make efforts to provide food, non-food-items, medical assistance and shelter materials as well as protection services to the newly displaced and otherwise vulnerable populations. In tandem with increasing needs, humanitarian organizations, are mobilizing funds and finalizing a contingency plan to respond to the emerging situation in the area. Critical needs for food, medicines and shelter have been reported, while a wide range of protection services and other humanitarian needs of affected communities – especially children, women and elderly persons – remain to be fully addressed.
OVER 18,000 PEOPLE REMAIN DISPLACED IN CHIN STATE: The security situation in Chin State and neighbouring two regions remains unpredictable, as hostilities between the MAF and the “PDFs” picked up again in several townships. Intermittent clashes have been reported in Mindat in Chin State as well as in Saw in Magway and Kale and Tamu townships in Sagaing regions throughout July. Increased deployment of troops and continued road blockages and checkpoints have been reported in and around Mindat Township with the temporary ceasefire between the “Chinland Defense Force-Mindat” and the MAF not extended beyond 14 July. In Magway Region, several rounds of artillery were reported in Saw Township on 15 July. In Sagaing Region, clashes in several villages in Kale and Tamu townships in mid-July resulted in a reported number of civilian casualties.
As of 19 July, more than 18,100 persons remain internally displaced in over 100 displacement sites in Chin, Magway and Sagaing. Most of the displaced persons are in four townships in Chin State, where they have been displaced since mid-May. This displacement is in addition to some 9,850 people who remain displaced across 27 sites in Paletwa Township in Chin State due to the earlier conflict between the MAF and the “Arakan Army”.
Access to affected areas remains substantially constrained, although two partners were able to deliver essential assistance to the people in need in certain locations in Mindat Township, including food items for two weeks, medicines, surgical masks and hand sanitizers targeting about 2,000 people. A UN agency also distributed non-food items, including tarpaulins, mosquito nets, mats, blankets, kitchen sets, solar lamps and protective medical equipment in Mindat.
RECURRENT POPULATION MOVEMENT IN NORTH AND SOUTHERN SHAN: Armed clashes between the MAF and EAOs and among EAOs in north and southern areas of Shan State continued between late June and mid-July. On 30 June, some 860 persons from 11 villages in Kyaukme Township in northern Shan were displaced following a series of clashes between the “Restoration Council of Shan State” (RCSS) and the allied forces of the “Shan State Progress Party” (SSPP) and the “Ta’ang National Liberation Army”. In Muse Township, more than 400 people in Man Yang Village Tract fled their home on 6 July due to armed clashes between the MAF and the “Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army”; the displaced families were able to return only on 17 July. In Hsipaw Township, about 300 persons from two villages fled their home on 16 July due to clashes between the RCSS and the SSPP. In southern areas of Shan State, partners confirmed the displacement of over 2,900 persons in Kyethi and Mongkaing in mid-July.
As of 22 July, some 7,000, out of the 22,479 persons who have been displaced across 14 townships in Shan State, remain displaced across 33 temporary sites in Kyethi and Mongkaing townships in the south and in Hsipaw,
Kyaukme and Kunlong townships in northern parts of Shan State.
Humanitarian partners and local communities are complementing locally led responses to the newly displaced persons through the provision of food and non-food; however, displaced people remain in need of food, mosquito nets, blankets and COVID-19 prevention related support.
FLOODS AFFECT TOWNSHIPS IN RAKHINE STATE AND PARTS OF SOUTH-EAST: Continuous monsoon rains caused flooding in lowland areas in Rakhine State and certain parts of south-eastern Myanmar, including Kayin and Mon states and Tanintharyi Region.
Initial reports indicated that some 3,000 people have reportedly been affected, with 100 households evacuated from their homes in Hlaingbwe Township in Kayin State. In addition, more than 1,400 people in several wards in Myawaddy Town in Kayin State were evacuated to 10 relief camps on 26 July and received rice assistance from local communities and structures. Additional people, whose exact number could not be ascertained, have also been affected in several townships in Mon State, including in Mawlamyine and Ye.
In Rakhine, initial reports indicated that Kalar Chaung Monastery displacement site, hosting about 1,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) in Mrauk-U Township has been flooded on 25 July. This has affected approximately 24 out of 142 shelters within the displacement site. In Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Rathedaung townships, over 600 households in several villages have been affected, while roads connecting communities have been blocked and power supply disrupted in Thandwe Township since 26 July; water levels on the roads have reached up to nine feet. Some 200 households in the township’s affected areas have been evacuated to safer locations by local volunteers; they are expected to return to their places of origin soon. In Kyaukpyu Township, Kyauk Ta Lone IDP camp, at least 27 families have had their temporary shelter damaged, and dozens of sanitation facilities damaged or destroyed due to the floods. The affected people are taking refuge in the higher sections of the camp, hosted by relatives.
Operational partners are currently collaborating with local aid groups and volunteers to better understand the situation and collect information on people’s needs. According to multiple sources, many people in affected locations and other areas where precipitation had been forecasted need support with evacuation. Those who have been evacuated or otherwise affected by floods require assistance in food, emergency shelter, health care and medical supplies, according to initial reports. Local volunteers have managed to evacuate the affected people and have provided initial assistance in terms of food and WASH as well as some COVID-19 awareness raising activities. The response, however, is likely to be impacted by access limitations, including those related to the current COVID-19 prevention measures.
COVID-19: Available figures suggest that COVID-19 testing is taking place in States and Regions from both the public and private sectors, with the variants Alpha, Delta, and Kappa identified across the country, according to a report from 15 June, but not the extent to which any single variant dominates infections.
Current figures show that the Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI) cases have rapidly accelerated, as has the demand for hospitalization. Because the data is limited, it is not possible to confirm how these figures reflect the real situation, but it indicates a rapidly increasing number of infections in the country. From 1-28 July, a total of 126,822 cases were reported from 382,125 tests with a test positive ratio of 33.18 per cent; daily test positive ratio is reaching 40 per cent. A total of 4,876 deaths attributed to COVID-19 were reported during the same period, with Bago, Yangon and Sagaing regions heavily affected.
A stay-at-home order have been imposed in over 80 townships across the country, and public holidays in July have been extended in an attempt to reduce the movement of people. This situation is unfolding in a context where access to health facilities is extremely limited. Partners are working to re-operationalize testing and surveillance activities, while COVID-19 treatment centres are being established with available resources and capacities. The full operationalizing of clinical management of cases is planned as soon as possible.