Myanmar

Myanmar: Inter-agency Update - December 2021

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The volatile situation in Myanmar following the 01 February 2021 coup has resulted in increased displacement both within the country and across borders, including into Thailand.

Humanitarian actors stand ready to support the Royal Thai Government (RTG) 's efforts to receive Myanmar refugees fleeing at this time to ensure that they receive the protection they need.

Agencies continue to take several key preparedness actions to ensure that complementary activities are delivered in a timely and coordinated manner.

SITUATION OVERVIEW ON THE THAI-MYANMAR BORDER

The Royal Thai Government (RTG) confirmed that around 4,600 individuals from Myanmar have fled the recent escalation of violence around Lay Kay Kaw since 16 December.

According to RTG sources, there are currently some 3,900 individuals from Myanmar remaining on the Thai side of the border with over 700 individuals having voluntarily returned between 18 and 20 December. Individuals have primarily been accommodated in two locations, namely Mae Ta Klang School and at a cow shed in Mae Kone Kane, both located in Mae Sot District.Smaller groups (less than 300 individuals in total) are being accommodated at two other sites at Ban Mae Ku Luang and Boon Pan, also in Mae Sot District. Currently, the Thai military, with the support of the Subdistrict Chiefs and the Mae Sot District Office, is assisting the displaced people and have set up donation collection points. The distribution mechanism in place remains unclear, however. Despite requests, UNHCR and INGOs have not been able to access these groups. As of 20 December, some key assistance such as food, water, tents, medication, CRIs, and WASH assistance (the de-sludging of mobile toilets and the provision of materials to construct a washing area), has been provided by the respective sectors.

According to the district authorities, insufficient WASH facilities at the sites remains a key concern. Latest security reports indicate that fighting continues to intensify in Lay Kay Kaw and Palu in Myawaddy township. Given that the Tatmadaw are reinforcing troops in northern Myawaddy and establishing a new artillery base, the situation seems unlikely to diffuse in the upcoming days; more people might cross into Thailand.

Over the past month, conflict has intensified with increased reports of raids by the Tatmadaw across the country, especially in the North-West and South-East regions. Conflicts between the Tatmadaw and PDF are increasing, resulting in more violence against civilians with looting, arrests, and attacks. Tensions have heightened again between the Tatmadaw and the Karen National Union (KNU) in Lay Kay Kaw, Kayin State and surrounding areas. On 14 December, Tatmadaw raided the town for the seventh time since September 2021. The area is a KNU Brigade 6-controlled territory. Around 200 Tatmadaw soldiers entered the town, raiding houses, and reportedly detaining at least 30 people. The detainees include Member of Parliament-elect Wai Lin Aung from the National League for Democracy party.

Since the Tatmadaw takeover of the country on 01 February 2021, Lay Kay Kaw has become one of the hideouts for pro-democracy activists and civil servants from the State Administration Council (SAC). As a result of the raids and ensuing conflict, hundreds of people were displaced. On the Myanmar side, displacement continues to grow from areas bordering Thailand and central regions, with members of the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) seeking Protection in areas under the control of ethnic groups. . As of 13 December, 295,700 people are displaced in Myanmar, of which 173,800 are displaced in the Southeast alone (Tanintharyi Region, Kayah, Shan, Kayin and Mon States).