Myanmar: Humanitarian Bulletin, Issue 4 | October 2016 - January 2017 [EN/MY]
- Access constraints hinder the humanitarian response to the crisis in the north of Rakhine.
- Intensified fighting endangers civilians and prompts displacement in Kachin and northern Shan.
- The Emergency Relief Coordinator visits Myanmar and calls for more humanitarian access and increased protection of civilians.
- 2017 Humanitarian Response Plan requests $150m to reach 525,000 people in need.
At least 92,000 people displaced after October attacks on police posts in northern Rakhine
A series of attacks on Border Guard Police posts on 9 October 2016 in which nine police personnel were killed and subsequent security operations have triggered a new humanitarian crisis in the northern part of Rakhine State. At least 92,000 people have fled their homes, hundreds of houses and buildings have been burned, many people have been killed and allegations of serious human rights violations have been widely reported.
Due to access restrictions imposed by the Government, the United Nations has not been able to independently investigate the reports of abuse. UN agencies in Bangladesh estimate that 69,000 people have fled across the border into Bangladesh since the attacks, while more than 23,000 (over 12,300 women/girls and over 11,100 men/boys) are estimated by the UN to remain displaced inside Maungdaw north. The majority of those displaced are Muslims who identify themselves as Rohingya; however, members of other communities were also displaced. The majority of the ethnic Rakhine and Mro people who were displaced have returned to their villages, although around 272 Rakhine and Mro people remain displaced in Maungdaw and Buthidaung. Security sweeps are continuing in the north of Rakhine State and a dawn to dusk curfew remains in place.
After a three month interruption to most of the services being provided by UN agencies and humanitarian organizations in northern Rakhine, the Government has been permitting an incremental resumption of some activities, but with national staff only.
International staff still face severe movement restrictions. While they have been permitted to observe some Government-led food distributions and while some high level visits are being permitted, most international staff based in northern Rakhine remain confined to the township capitals (Maungdaw and Buthidaung towns). While distribution of food and some other relief items is now being permitted (with national staff only), the Government has not yet permitted humanitarian organizations to resume protection activities.
A Multi-Sector Initial Rapid Assessment was initiated in Maungdaw south in January but permission has not yet been granted by the authorities for a similar assessment to be carried out in Maungdaw north where security operations are ongoing. While WFP has been able to gather information related to its food deliveries in some areas of Maungdaw north, completion of a comprehensive needs assessment across all affected areas is critical to understanding the overall situation facing affected people. In the meantime, observations from humanitarian staff working in affected areas suggest that food, shelter, household items, medical kits, water, sanitation and hygiene assistance, education and protection support are the key humanitarian needs. Health services, including some NGO clinics, have resumed in some areas, but coverage is patchy and humanitarian staff report low patient attendance as the situation remains tense. People are still afraid to move freely to access services and travel passes are restricted. Emergency medical referrals have also been severely impacted, limiting options for treatment and placing patients at risk. Emergency medical referrals outside Maungdaw District are not permitted for Muslim patients.