A. Situation analysis
Description of the crisis
In the beginning of October 2016, an upsurge of violence in the northern area of Myanmar’s Rakhine State led to mass displacement amongst the local population. The violence took place against a backdrop of decades of protracted tension and intercommunal violence between Rakhine and Muslim communities in Rakhine.
The violence was sparked by a series of coordinated attacks on 9 October on border police stations in Maungdaw and Rathedaung townships, located in the northern area of Rakhine State. The attacks triggered an immediate response from security forces in Myanmar, which resulted in access to these areas being denied for humanitarian organizations and the media.
This however was relaxed in mid – April 2017. An estimated 120,000 people from Maungdaw district affected by the communal violence fled their homes to either Bangladesh or other safer areas within northern and central areas of Rakhine state.
During the second quarter of 2017, the humanitarian situation related to violence in northern Rakhine remained tense especially in north and south of Maungdaw where reports of murders, killings, and kidnappings/ disappearance of targeted individuals continued. Reported killings and/or arrests of community members in North and South of Rakhine were still common between Maungdaw and Buthidaung, thus posing a threat to free access and information gathering. In May 2017, there were reports of bomb blasts in Buthidaung township raising fears that some people may have been attempting to make home-made bombs.
The authorisation to travel for INGO staff in Rakhine state gradually improved, with a caveat that international staff could only access Maungdaw township village communities when accompanied by an official from a relevant ministry. However, these access constraints were later eased by the local authorities. This has enabled more rapid assessments to be carried out by different humanitarian agencies in the district.
During the implementation of this DREF, northern part of Rakhine state, especially the townships of Maungdaw and Buthidaung, were among the coastal areas of Myanmar that was affected by Cyclone Mora between 29-30 May 2017. Over 14,482 houses were partially or fully damaged in the Maungdaw and Buthidaung townships and 1,630 houses damaged in the Sittwe, Minbya and Rathedaung townships. As a result, MRCS with support of IFRC, requested another DREF allocation of CHF 83,397 to support its emergency response efforts covering 1,000 households (5,000 people) in most affected townships of Maungdaw (500 households), Minbya (300 households) and Buthidaung (200 households) located in both the northern and central areas of Rakhine state. The operation1 which provided relief items; family kits, hygiene parcels, dignity kits and unconditional cash specifically for Minbya township ended on 30 September 2017. MRCS response to Cyclone Mora had an impact on this operation and led to a shift in priority amid growing operational challenges.