SITUATION AT A GLANCE
1 MILLION People in Need of Humanitarian Assistance in Burma
UN – January 2021
151,000 IDPs in Southeastern Burma Who Remain Displaced by Insecurity
UN – May 2021
126,000 IDPs—Originally Displaced in 2012—in Burma’s Rakhine IDP Sites
UN – May 2021
1.4 MILLION People in Need of Humanitarian Assistance in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar
UN – May 2021
884,000 Refugees in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar
UNHCR – March 2021
Insecurity and violence across Burma continue to escalate following the February 1 military coup d’état against the civilian government, displacing tens of thousands of people and exacerbating humanitarian needs.
Hostilities in Burma’s Kayah State displace between 85,000 and 100,000 people from mid- to late May.
Health actors, including USG partners, continue to respond to a surge in COVID-19 cases in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar District.
The USG announces nearly $155 million in additional funding to support the Burma and Bangladesh regional humanitarian response.
Clashes Across Burma Displace Tens of Thousands of People in May
Clashes between Burmese military forces, ethnic armed organizations (EAOs), and other local non-state armed groups across Burma have escalated in recent months, resulting in rising displacement and humanitarian needs, the UN reports. Increased hostilities have been particularly pronounced in Chin State, northern Shan State, and southeastern Burma, comprising Bago and Tanintharyi regions, as well as Kayah, Kayin, and Mon states. In the southeast, fighting between the Burmese military and both the Karenni Army and the Karenni People’s Defense Force erupted in Kayah in mid-May, displacing between 85,000 and 100,000 people as of May 31. Insecurity also continued to prompt displacement in other areas of the region during the month, including Kayin and Bago. As of late May, 151,000 people remained displaced in the southeast due to recent insecurity, requiring urgent cash, food, health, shelter, and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) assistance.
In Chin, fighting between Burmese military forces and the Chinland Defense Force—an armed group formed in response to the February 1 military coup—since late April had displaced approximately 10,000 individuals, including 9,000 people from Mindat town, as of late May, according to the UN. Internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Mindat are sheltering primarily in 16 sites in Chin and Magway region and require immediate food, health, protection, shelter, and WASH support. Meanwhile, in northern Shan, clashes between Burmese military forces and EAOs, as well as among EAOs, displaced approximately 2,800 people in May. An estimated 8,400 people remained displaced in northern Shan due to insecurity since January—in addition to the approximately 9,800 IDPs displaced in 2011 who continue to reside in state-managed protracted displacement camps in the state—as of late May.
While USG partners continue relief activities in Burma, access challenges, restricted banking operations, and limited cash availability resulting from coup-related instability are adversely affecting the provision of humanitarian assistance. Insecurity due to hostilities in areas of Chin, Kachin, northern Shan, and southeastern Burma; landmine contamination; and roadblocks impede humanitarian access, according to the UN. Additionally, deteriorating cash liquidity has challenged relief actors’ ability to conduct cash and voucher assistance programs, procure necessary commodities, and pay staff salaries, amid rising humanitarian needs in the country.
Health Actors Respond to Surge in COVID-19 Cases in Cox’s Bazar
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases continued to increase among Rohingya refugees and host community members in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar District in May. Between May 17 and 30, health actors confirmed more than 400 COVID-19 cases among refugees in the Cox’s Bazar camps, representing a more than 120 percent increase compared with the nearly 190 cases confirmed in the previous two-week period. Seven COVID-19-related deaths among refugees have been reported between early April and late May, according to the UN World Health Organization (WHO). Meanwhile, health actors confirmed more than 800 COVID-19 cases among host community members from May 17 to 30, representing a 48 percent increase compared with the previous two-week period.
In response to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, health actors have bolstered infection prevention and control efforts and strengthened laboratory capacity in the Cox’s Bazar camps. Humanitarian organizations also began activating additional severe acute respiratory infection isolation and treatment center beds in late May at the request of Cox’s Bazar health authorities. As of May 30, approximately 70 percent of the more than 520 isolation and treatment center beds available in the camps were occupied, up from a 26 percent bed occupancy rate in late April. USG partners the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), and WHO continue COVID-19 response efforts throughout Cox’s Bazar to strengthen the health sector and prevent excess morbidity and mortality from COVID-19.
USG Announces Nearly $155 Million in Additional Funding to the Burma and Bangladesh Regional Response, as UN Launches 2021 JRP
On May 18, the USG announced nearly $155 million in additional funding to humanitarian partners—including more than $80 million from USAID/BHA and nearly $74 million from State/PRM—to support the delivery of humanitarian assistance to Rohingya refugees and host communities in Bangladesh and people affected by ongoing violence in Burma’s Chin, Kachin, Rakhine, and Shan states. The new funding will support continued delivery of food, nutrition, protection, shelter, and WASH assistance in Burma and Bangladesh.
The UN released the 2021 Joint Response Plan (JRP) for the Rohingya Humanitarian Crisis in early May, requesting approximately $943 million to continue providing multi-sector humanitarian assistance to approximately 1.4 million people—including 884,000 Rohingya refugees and 470,000 host community members—in Cox’s Bazar through the end of 2021. According to the Joint Multi-Sector Needs Assessment conducted between July and August 2020—which informed the development of the JRP—shelter, food, livelihood, and education support remain priority needs among Rohingya households, with women and girls identifying access to safe WASH facilities and electricity as major concerns. Among host community households in Cox’s Bazar, access to food and income-generating activities are key needs, reflecting the economic impact of COVID-19 containment measures in the district. The JRP is also centered on a strategy to bolster humanitarian and protection conditions in the 34 Cox’s Bazar refugee camps and support access to basic services through refugee registration and efforts to bolster coordination among relief actors for the delivery of assistance.