UNHCR Myanmar Operational Update, March - April 2021

Situation Report
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Since the military takeover on 1 February, insecurity and clashes continue to be reported across much of the country with arrest, detention and use of excessive force against protestors by police and security forces. Disruptions to banking services, healthcare, communications, and supply chains ensue, while tensions and confrontations in the north and southeast intensify between Tatmadaw and ethnic armed organizations.
UNHCR and partners continue providing critical life-saving humanitarian assistance, while following the development of the situation closely to better understand the full potential impact on people of concern, including IDPs and stateless populations. Early warning systems, initiated by UNHCR and partners, continue to be employed to detect changes on the ground which could impact on operations and people of concern with the view to inform timely mitigating measures and responses.
At the same time, in this rapidly evolving context, the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis continues to pose additional potential challenges to already strained or disrupted health services. While integrating COVID-19 prevention and response into regular programming, UNHCR will continue to monitor the impact on populations of concern given the heightened risks they may face with critical protection service and assistance increasingly restricted.


600,000 Estimated stateless Rohingya in Rakhine State, of which some 144,000 are living in 21 displacement camps as well as among the host community since 2012

285,000 Internally displaced persons (IDPs) living in Rakhine, Chin,
Kachin, northern Shan, Kayin states, and Bago (east) region, including some 93,100* in 201 sites displaced due to the AAMAF conflict, and at least 58,600 due to the resumption and intensification of clashes between the Tatmadaw and ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) in the north-and south-east Townships across Rakhine, Chin, Kachin and northern Shan states, and the south-east where UNHCR has consulted with communities through the Early Warning Systems

46,746 Displaced and affected people in Myanmar supported with basic non-food items and shelter material by UNHCR and partners in 2021

Financial requirements in 2021 (as of 04 May 2021) Financial requirements in 2020 (as of 05 January 2021)
USD 52.7 million (14% funded)

KEY HIGHLIGHTS | March - April 2021

Kachin & northern Shan

  • The resumption and intensification of armed clashes in the Kachin and northern Shan states between the Tatmadaw and ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) since March have resulted in the displacement of over 18,000** individuals by 10 May, 14,300 of whom remain in displacement.

  • In March and April, UNHCR and partners continued to provide support to persons with specific needs (PSNs), including persons with disabilities, elderly, single/female headed households, and those with serious medical conditions, through provision of emergency cash assistance benefitting 207 PSNs and their families. The support is aimed at addressing their most pressing needs such as medical expenses while reducing the risk of resorting to negative coping mechanisms such as borrowing money or taking on debt, or reducing expenditure on key items including water, food, education and healthcare.

  • UNHCR continues to provide targeted non-food items (NFI) to meet the needs of displaced persons. In March and April, UNHCR distributed NFI items including blankets, mosquito nets, plastic mats, kitchen sets, tarpaulins, solar lights, soap, and jerry cans to 1,034 families (4,354 individuals) in Kachin and northern Shan states.

  • In March, UNHCR and partners, completed a community-based project in Mogaung Township, Kachin State. A communal hall was completed with the involvement of the community and will benefit 450 individuals. Since the beginning of the year, UNHCR and partners have completed several projects benefitting over 4,000 individuals. Examples of projects, which are aimed at improving conditions in communities and strengthening social cohesion, include the construction and renovation of schools, road construction, and the construction of gravity flow water systems.

Rakhine & southern Chin

  • As of April 2021, there are over 93,100 persons displaced across 201 sites and in host communities in Rakhine and southern Chin states in connection with the AAMAF conflict.

  • Support to displacement sites and IDP camps continue despite limitations imposed by the current political and COVID-19 context. In March and April, UNHCR contributed 10,560 CGI sheets and 811kg of nails for shelter reconstruction through combined efforts of Shelter Cluster partners and UNHCR direct implementation in central Rakhine, and 1,351 families (6,755 individuals) in 31 displacement sites received shelter material to prevent damage during the rainy season in April. In addition, 48 families (240 individuals) received tarpaulins and rope as well as portable solar lamps.

  • Based on assessments carried out in northern Rakhine townships to identify persons with specific needs in both villages and displacement sites, including persons with disabilities, elderly, and single/female headed households,1,218 households (6,090 individuals) received NFI support, items included kitchen sets, mosquito nets, sleeping mats, jerry cans, blankets, tarpaulins.

  • Field activities within the framework of creating conditions for sustainable solutions for displaced persons from Rakhine State remain ongoing. During the reporting period, a number of community-based projects have been progressing; two community water pond rehabilitation projects are near completion, as is the drilling of a borehole, while another borehole is in the early stages of work. The installation of 59 solar streetlights has been completed in three villages, and a road project and water pond project have been initiated in two village tracts. In another location, a project to improve village paths and access roads in two villages is more than halfway complete.


  • Sustained armed clashes in the southeast region of Myanmar between the Tatmadaw and ethnic armed organizations (EAOs), including the use of airstrikes, have led to the displacement of an estimated 44,300 people, 5,000 of whom have crossed the border into Thailand and have subsequently returned to Myanmar and remain displaced internally.

  • The current political situation continues to result in the suspension of many activities in the southeast, both of UNHCR’s and partners’, aside from a few including those carried out by UNHCR through direct implementation.

  • On 27 April, UNHCR distributed non-food items (NFIs) to new IDPs who fled from airstrikes in Hpa-Pun Township, benefitting 46 families (191 individuals).

  • In coordination with the Myanmar Red Cross Society (MRCS), UNHCR facilitated two first aid and trauma trainings targeting 35 members of the community and civil society organizations (CSOs) in Loikaw Township, Kayah State. Given the positive feedback received, two more similar trainings will be organized for May targeting 60 individuals.

  • In March and April, the implementation of community-based projects in Kayin State progressed with an aim of improving infrastructure and supporting peaceful coexistence among communities. Several projects are in various stages of completion, including solar streetlight installation and the construction of a primary school, which are nearing completion, and the construction of a health centre including staff housing and the construction of a study hall are nearly half complete.