Myanmar Humanitarian Fund - Annual Report 2017
2017 IN REVIEW
Humanitarian situation in 2017
The humanitarian situation in Myanmar remained fragile with the continuation of the protracted humanitarian crises in Rakhine, Kachin and Shan; the aggravation of the humanitarian context in the northern part of Rakhine State; new internal displacement in Kachin and Shan; and natural disasters hitting already vulnerable people. The key drivers of humanitarian needs were the underlying vulnerability due to protracted denial of rights, limited access to basic services, conflict, insecurity and climatic shocks. The people directly affected by the different humanitarian crises in Myanmar (including the refugees hosted in Thailand and Bangladesh) are estimated at 1.8 million (3 per cent of the total population).
Protracted humanitarian needs
About 240,000 people remained internally displaced in camps or camp-like settings in Kachin, Shan and Rakhine States. This includes around 91,000 in Kachin and 15,000 in Shan respectively who were displaced because of the armed conflict that resumed in 2011. It also includes about 128,000 in Rakhine who were displaced as a result of violence that erupted in 2012 and who remain unable to access basic services or enjoy the full spectrum of their human rights. In addition, there are particularly vulnerable non-displaced people who continue to require special attention and support because of different factors including, amongst others, armed conflict, restrictions on movement, discriminatory practices and severe malnutrition. The country’s vulnerability to natural disasters results in significant humanitarian needs that will continue for the foreseeable future whilst the Government is building its disaster management capacities with the support of the international community.
Crisis in northern Rakhine State
Following the 25 August 2017 attacks of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) on police posts and subsequent security operations by the Myanmar military and security forces in Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Rathedaung Townships, a massive outflow of people resulted in the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis. As of 16 March 2017, it is estimated that more than 671,000 persons, the vast majority of whom identify themselves as Rohingya, had fled to neighbouring Bangladesh seeking refuge. In addition, over 25,000 persons were internally displaced, although most of these have since returned. Although severe restrictions on access have made an adequate assessment impossible, large numbers of people in northern Rakhine remain in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, particularly in the sectors of protection, health and food security. According to estimates made by the Maungdaw Inter-Agency Group (MIAG), around 159,000 stateless people remain in the three northern townships, all of which can be considered to have been directly affected. In addition, around 55,000 non-stateless people can be considered to have been directly affected in the three northern townships, particularly in Maungdaw and Buthidaung. This includes non-stateless displaced people who have largely returned now from Sittwe and other areas; and members of the economically disadvantaged Mro, Thet, Dynet, and Rakhine communities.
New displacements in Kachin and Shan
In Kachin and Shan states, as a result of continuing and intensified conflict between the Myanmar Military and ethnic armed groups in 2017, close to 8,000 people were newlydisplaced, bringing the total number of people in camps in these two states to over 100,000. Since November 2017, more frequent and intense clashes between ethnic armed groups and Myanmar Military have resulted in displacement and re-displacement of larger numbers of people in both states. The displacement situation across both states remain very fluid and numbers are difficult to confirm given access challenges. Humanitarian access, particularly to people staying in areas beyond government control, remains severely curtailed in both states.
Myanmar’s vulnerability to natural disasters resulted in significant humanitarian needs that will continue for the foreseeable future whilst the Government continues to build its disaster management capacities with the support of OCHA and other partners. In 2017, Cyclone Mora brought strong winds and heavy rains in Myanmar, destroying over 16,000 houses in Rakhine and Chin states and Ayeyarwady Region.
Rakhine was the most-affected state and, in addition to the houses that were destroyed, over 60 per cent of the temporary shelters in IDP camps were damaged or destroyed. During the 2017 monsoon season, Myanmar also experienced heavy flooding and over 320,000 people were temporarily displaced. In addition, about 30 earthquakes (all with a magnitude lower than 5) were registered.
Security and access constraints
Crisis affected people in Myanmar often have restricted access to services and livelihoods for a variety of reasons including insecurity and restrictions on their movement. Independent and impartial humanitarian organizations, both national and international, aim to meet the resulting needs to the extent possible. However humanitarian actors themselves have varying levels of access to crisis-affected people in Kachin, Shan and Rakhine states, resulting in difficulties and delays in implementing and monitoring humanitarian activities. For example, humanitarian activities are sometimes cancelled or delayed as a result of lengthy approval processes and nonissuance of travel authorizations.