Of the total 593,000 internally displaced people in Myanmar, more than 223,000 have been displaced by armed conflict and unrest since 1 February 2021 - a record high - while numbers of refugees who have fled to neighbouring countries remain at some 22,000.
The overall number of those displaced since 1 February - the majority of whom remain in South East Myanmar and Shan State (South) - decreased slightly as some IDPs returned to areas where fighting has temporarily subsided. However, in general, an increasing conflict across the country prompted further displacement, including around 10,000 people in Shan State (South) fleeing artillery strikes in Pekhon Township, and over 2,000 people in Kayin State amidst clashes between the Tatmadaw and Karen National Union.
Tensions remain high in Shan State (North), including in Muse Township where previous displacement was reported due to armed clashes, while new displacement was reported in Hseni and Kyaukme townships in late October. In Chin State, where more than 1,000 people have been displaced throughout Falam Township amid an escalation of conflict and a deteriorating humanitarian situation, the number of IDPs decreased with returns in Falam, Mindat, and Hakha townships while the security forces continue their advance across the State from Sagaing Region. The beginning of major escalation in Sagaing Region late last week has displaced over 3,000 people of whom most having gone into hiding, while reportedly burning more than 160 houses, two churches and a Save the Children office in Thantlang Town in Chin State on 29 October.
With rise in commodity prices and challenges in accessing local markets due to insecurity, combined with electricity cuts and communications disruptions, IDPs and other vulnerable communities notably in South-East Myanmar and Rakhine State continue to face significant challenges to meet their basic needs and services, especially healthcare.
Food security remains the main concern for IDPs in Kachin and Shan States, along widespread insecurity and risk of land mines, while security concerns have disrupted harvesting and other livelihoods activities in the North-West, leaving IDPs with an urgent need for food and basic services. The North-West in the past week has seen violence concentrated in Thantlang, with clearance operations by the MAF resulting in destruction of property and subsequent mass displacement. The COVID-19 pandemic also continues to spread among IDPs despite COVID-19 positive rates declining nationally, with more than a hundred active cases in Hpruso township in Kayah State and many more thought to have been infected. There have been reports of Rohingya being apprehended while traveling within Myanmar, for example a boat was reportedly intercepted in Rakhine State’s Ponnagyun Township.