Myanmar

Myanmar: Humanitarian access in Central Rakhine (March 2019)

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Key Facts & Figures in March 2019, in Central Rakhine:

  • 19 organizations and 817 international and national staff had regular TAs approved

  • 1 organization had regular TAs approved for rural areas of Kyauktaw and Ponnagyun

  • 3 townships (Kyauktaw, Ponnagyun and Mrauk-U) are affected by access restrictions on regular activities in rural areas

  • 4 organizations received TAs for new displacement sites

For organizations applying for travel authorizations (TAs) during the reporting period*, the situation throughout March continued to be complex and restrictive.
On 10 January 2019, the Rakhine State Government (RSG) restricted the operational access of most organizations to implement their regular activities in rural areas of Ponnagyun, Kyauktaw, Buthidaung, Maungdaw and Rathedaung, following an increase in conflict between the Myanmar military and the Arakan Army (AA). On 19 March, the access in Mrauk-U township was also restricted in a similar way. In central Rakhine, the TAs granted to humanitarian organizationt were limited to the urban areas of Kyauktaw, Ponnagyun and Mrauk-U. 50,000 people who were directly or indirectly benefiting from multi-sectorial humanitarian and development support prior to 10 January 2019 have been affected by these access restrictions on regular activities in Kyauktaw and Ponnagyun, although most of them continue to receive food assistance. The situation is different for the access to the newly displaced sites in the same townships where ad hoc and short-term access has been granted by the RSG to at least the 4 organizations who requested it in March 2019.
More organizations involved in this response received TAs in April and May.
Organizations still have access to implement activities in other townships, including in the IDP camps in Sittwe, Pauktaw, Myebon and Kyaukpyu. However, the access procedures remain highly bureaucratic overall, requiring the submission of detailed and restrictive paperwork outlining planned activities. Extensive information is provided to the Coordination Committee and Rakhine State Government line agencies regarding humanitarian operations including daily workplans, copies of ID and staff lists. This reduces the capacity of humanitarian partners to be flexible and respond efficiently to changing circumstances and staffing needs.
The average approval time for regular TAs increased slightly to 6 days and the average length of a TA is of 25 days in length.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.