Myanmar: Humanitarian access in Kachin and northern Shan (July 2018)
The armed conflict that continues in northern Myanmar is one of the world’s longest-running civil wars. Millions of people have been affected, including many who here have been displaced by fighting multiple times in their lifetimes. In Kachin, about 100,000 displaced people are in camps as a result of fighting between the Myanmar Military and the Kachin Independence Army. In northern Shan, nearly 10,000 displaced people are in camps. In spite of the needs, humanitarian actors have limited access. For more than two years, the UN has not been permitted by the Government to deliver assistance to conflict-affected civilians in areas controlled by armed groups, where there are about 40,000 displaced people in camps. Even in Government-controlled areas, humanitarian access is severely constrained.
The United Nations and its partners continue to assist conflict-affected people in northern Myanmar, but they face increasing difficulties in getting Government travel authorizations to address humanitarian needs. For Government-controlled areas, most travel authorizations are granted only for the main towns.
This prevents humanitarian staff from having access to most of the displaced people, who are located outside the main town centres. Quality inter-agency needs assessments have become near impossible to conduct. While national partners continue to have limited and unpredictable access to areas beyond Government control, the UN and nearly all international NGOs cannot monitor or support them in their activities.
Access constraints have a serious impact on the protection and welfare of conflict-affected people, including women, children and elderly people. In April 2018, about 2,000 people in Kachin were sheltering in the forest for weeks due to fighting, while humanitarians had no access. Distributions of food, emergency shelter, blankets, clothes and mosquito nets are routinely delayed or blocked.
Displaced people are often left without proper shelter & protection from heavy rains, wind and heat for extended periods, particularly in remote, hard-to-reach areas