• Crisis Severity ?
    3.2
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Impact ?
    3.1
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Humanitarian Conditions ?
    3.0
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Complexity ?
    3.5
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Access Constraints ?
    4.0
    No constraints
    Extreme constraints

Key figures

  • 5,124,000 People affected [?]
  • 1,267,000 People displaced [?]
  • 975,000 People in Need [?]

Overview

09/04/2020

The humanitarian situation in Myanmar is driven by longstanding conflicts between the Myanmar Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) and various insurgent groups known as ethnic armed organisations (EAOs). Nearly one million people are in need of humanitarian assistance in Myanmar, with the highest needs concentrated in Rakhine, Kachin, and Shan, where armed conflict has sought independence and self-determination for various ethnic groups in Myanmar.?

Rakhine and Shan states are sites of active conflict. Clashes between EAOs and the Tatmadaw near civilian areas occur often. In Shan, more than 50,000 people have been displaced since 2018. In Rakhine, the August 2017 crackdown against the Rohingya population forced 700,000 to flee to Bangladesh. This was followed by an intensification of conflict between the Arakan Army (AA) and the Tatmadaw, displacing at least 60,000 people, primarily to Sittwe, since January 2019. Additionally, protracted displacement has left 130,000 in IDPs in Rakhine and 9,000 in Shan confined to IDP camps for more than seven years. ?

Conflict in Kachin escalated in 2011, following the collapse of a ceasefire between the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and the Tatmadaw. Although limited new violence has occurred since 2018, around 100,000 people remain in protracted displacement.?

Protection is a key concern across Myanmar as armed conflict and violations of international humanitarian law by the Tatmadaw and armed groups continue to impact civilians. Access to basic services is limited and livelihoods are threatened by conflict and lack of economic opportunity, particularly for the stateless Rohingya in Rakhine and IDPs living in non-government-controlled areas in northern Shan.?

INFORM measures Myanmar's risk of humanitarian crisis and disaster at 6.3/10.?

Latest Developments

07/07/2020

Thousands fled Kyauktan village tract in Rathedaung Township following the 25 June announcement of ‘clearance operations’ to be conducted by the Tatmadaw against Arakan Army units in the area. Fighting broke out the following day, and as many as 10,000 civilians fled to Rathedaung town. Camps are reportedly full and without access to clean water, food, and a year-long internet shutdown in Rathedaung is restricting information.?

25/06/2020

The beginning of monsoon season has brought heavy rainfall and flooding to Rakhine state since 17 June. Flooding has affected at least 14 IDP sites across five townships, with at least 6,000 IDPs affected in Myebon, Kyaukpyu, and Mrauk-U townships. Rising waters have flooded shelters and caused latrines to overflow. Disease spread is a concern as water sources become contaminated.  Many people displaced by flooding have relocated to local monasteries or schools. Particular needs among people displaced by flooding have not been reported. Reports suggest shortages of building materials and restrictions on the building of temporary camps in areas affected by conflict is a challenge in Rakhine.?

ACAPS' team is daily monitoring the impact of COVID-19. Find more information related to the outbreak here.

Humanitarian Access

28/01/2020

Very High Constraints

Access continues to be problematic for populations in need and for humanitarian workers. Rohingyas, particularly in Rakhine State, continue to experience systematic discriminatory policies and institutionalised segregation, and are subject to severe movement constraints. More than 120,000 people have been confined to displacement sites since 2012, and access to services, including healthcare and quality education, are severely restricted. The situation is aggravated by entry restrictions for international aid organisations, limiting access either to the country or to specific regions. Intensified clashes between the Arakan army and the Tatmadaw in Rakhine, Chin and Shan states since November 2018 have triggered mass displacement and further hampered the provision of humanitarian assistance. 

Since December 2019, additional access constraints and restrictions have worsened the humanitarian situation for both IDPs in Rakhine State and responding organizations. The Myanmar Government began drawing up plans to resettle IDPs and close temporary shelters across Rakhine and Kachin and Shan states. Multiple IDP camps in Kyaukphyu, Pauktaw, Kyauktaw, and Myebon townships in Rakhine State have been closed or are planned to be closed – affecting nearly 11,000 IDPs. Additionally, restrictions were imposed on Myebon Township - making 8 of 17 townships challenging to access for national and international organizations.?

The use of landmines is particularly problematic in Myanmar, the only country in the world whose military still deploys landmines. A recent escalation of violence between Myanmar forces and the Araken Army in Rakhine State has resulted in a spike in landmine fatalities and injuries. The use of landmines poses a major protection risk to civilians in Rakhine State. Civilians collecting food or supplies from the surrounding forests as well as migrants and farmers traveling through fields are most at-risk of landmine explosions.?

Read more in the latest ACAPS Humanitarian Access Overview.

Risk

Escalating conflict and government restrictions in Rakhine lead to deterioration of humanitarian conditions for Rohingya, especially in northern and central townships. Latest update: 25/03/2020

Probability

Highly unlikely Somewhat likely Highly likely

Impact

Very low Moderate Major

Risk Rationale

The end of 2019 saw intensified conflict between the Myanmar Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) and the Arakan Army. Armed clashes resulted in 9,000 new displacements in November 2019 and mine contamination and shelling in Rohingya villages has caused a spike in civilian casualties in early 2020, particularly in the northern townships of Buthidaung, Rathedaung, and Kyauktaw. Units of the Arakan Army have advanced to more southern areas of Rakhine, which will likely cause an increase in humanitarian needs in townships previously less affected by the conflict.?

Meanwhile, access constraints continue to pose challenges for humanitarian organisations and people in need. In 2020, the government added new restrictions for organisations wanting to access affected areas: 8 of 17 townships in Rakhine have become inaccessible or extremely restricted for most organisations, leaving at least 100,000 people with limited access to essential services and humanitarian assistance. Additionally, an IDP camp in Kyaukphu hosting nearly 1,000 people closed, the third camp closure since 2018, when the government announced plans to transfer IDPs to permanent settlements  2020 will likely see this policy expanded. Shifting from temporary to permanent settlements will further cement ethnic divisions by signalling a permanence to Rohingya displacement.?

In January 2020, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) obliged Myanmar to provide reports of measures taken to protect the Rohingya from genocide. The first report deadline is 23 May 2020 and it is unclear how Myanmar will respond. The government has denied genocide allegations, blocked UN investigators, and constrained humanitarian organisations. As pressure mounts, an emboldened Arakan Army could intensify attacks, particularly in more southern townships. If the government is met with stronger militancy in Rakhine and higher risk of international interference, an intensified crackdown is probable.?

The population in Rakhine has limited capacity to cope with worsened humanitarian conditions. Historical increases in need suggest an additional 50,000 to 100,000 people could see deteriorating in human conditions across the state.

Risk Impact

As conflict moves closer to Rohingya villages, civilian casualties will likely increase, with immediate risks highest in the northern townships of Buthidaung, Rathedaung, and Kyauktaw. A shift toward increased conflict in southern townships of Myebon, Ponnagyun, and Minbya will bring landmines and shelling to areas previously less affected by direct conflict.

An increased Tatmadaw presence will likely increase protection risks, such as arbitrary detention of Rohingya, confiscation of property, and forced displacement; as well as movement restrictions limiting access to shelter, farmland, and education. Humanitarian organisations are likely to face additional access limitations, arising both from insecurity and the government seeking to restrict international involvement.?

Food security and livelihoods will be affected as trade routes become disrupted by insecurity and warring parties attempting to control territory. In 2019, some 6,000 hectares of crops went unharvested, which could prove detrimental given that 36% of Rakhine’s population relies on small and medium farms for their livelihoods. As the 2020 May-October harvest approaches, food production is likely to decrease further as farmers avoid fields for fear of landmines, crossfire, and detention.?

WASH needs will increase, particularly for IDPs with limited access to clean water. As water sources in the camps dry up during the March-May hot season, and water stagnation and flooding occurs during the May-October monsoon season, IDPs will become more dependent on contaminated water, increasing the risk of water-borne diseases.?

Read this risk

Humanitarian Access Constraints

09/04/2020

Access continues to be problematic for populations in need and for humanitarian workers. Rohingyas, particularly in Rakhine state, continue to experience systematic discriminatory policies are subject to severe movement constraints. More than 120,000 people have been confined to displacement sites since 2012, and access to services, including healthcare and quality education, is severely restricted. Entry restrictions for international aid organisations, limit access to specific regions or deny entry to to the country or . Intensified clashes between the Arakan Army and the Tatmadaw in Rakhine, Chin and Shan states since November 2018 have triggered mass displacement and further hampered the provision of humanitarian assistance. 

Since December 2019, additional access constraints and restrictions have worsened the humanitarian situation for IDPs in Rakhine state. The Myanmar government began drawing up plans to resettle IDPs and close temporary shelters across Rakhine, Kachin, and Shan states. Multiple IDP camps in Kyaukphyu, Pauktaw, Kyauktaw, and Myebon townships in Rakhine state have been closed or are planned to close – affecting nearly 11,000 IDPs.

The use of landmines poses a major protection risk to civilians in Rakhine state.  A recent escalation of violence between Myanmar forces and the Arakan Army in Rakhine state has resulted in a spike in landmine fatalities and injuries. Civilians collecting food or supplies from surrounding forests as well as migrants and farmers traveling through fields are most at risk of landmine explosions.

Read more in the latest ACAPS Humanitarian Access Overview.

Key Priorities

09/04/2020

Protection: All three states affected by conflict experience armed clashes and landmine contamination. human rights violations, including arbitrary detention, extortion, and torture threaten the safety of civilians, especially Rohingya in Rakhine and those living in northern Shan.?

WASH: IDPs, especially those confined to camps, have limited access to clean water and sanitation facilities. This is exacerbated by the March-May dry season, when available water sources dry up, as well as the May-September monsoon season, which brings stagnating water. Both seasons increase the dependence of IDPs on contaminated water, elevating the risk of waterborne disease.?

Education: In Rakhine, the stateless Rohingya lack access to formal education. In Kachin and Shan, decades of conflict have led to the destruction of school facilities or their closure as warring parties use them as bases. More than 246,000 children are estimated in need of education in Myanmar.?

Peace Dialogue and Negotiations

09/04/2020

The most significant step to peace in Myanmar was the National Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) signed in 2015. The NCA was agreed upon by 16 ethnic armed organisations (EAOs), though only eight signed, either because they were disqualified by the government or objected to the lack of inclusivity of the NCA.?

Myanmar denied participation of the Arakan Army (AA), Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) unless preconditions, including bilateral ceasefires, were met. Additionally, the 2011 collapse of a 17-year ceasefire with the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) led to renewed fighting and rejection of the NCA.?

The NCA and subsequent peace conferences held since March 2016 have failed to end conflict in Myanmar. In December 2018, the political wings of the AA, MNDAA, and TNLA declared interest in a political dialogue. Later that month, the Tatmadaw announced a unilateral ceasefire that excluded Rakhine state; instead a large military offensive was launched in Rakhine in January 2019 and the AA began increasing their attacks on Tatmadaw positions across the state, and conflict between the AA and Tatmadaw has continued to escalate. The ceasefire in the east and north of the country was extended multiple times, but officially ended in September 2019, with the Tatmadaw accusing EAOs of not being interested in signing the NCA.?

Information Gaps and Needs

09/04/2020

Access constraints in Rakhine state prevent a clear indication of needs among the Rohingya. IDPs in Rakhine are largely confined to government camps and there are discrepancies between the number of IDPs reported by the government and other NGOs in the state. Access constraints in Kachin and Shan states make it difficult to assess the needs of IDPs in those states.