• In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, UNICEF’s focus has been on childfriendly risk communication messages in a number of ethnic languages to promote good hygiene and hand-washing behaviors to reduce transmission and spread. UNICEF is also issuing a U-Report “chatbot” to provide basic information and advice reaching over 33,000 young people countrywide.
• UNICEF and the Mine Risk Working Group (MRWG) recorded 36 casualties in January of whom 15 were children, and of five deaths, four were children.
• During the visit of the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflict, she acknowledged the progress made by the Government with regards to the 2012 Joint Action Plan on the recruitment and use of children and urged continued engagement and a new joint action plan to better protect children and end killing, maiming and sexual violence.
Situation in Numbers
362,000 children in need of humanitarian assistance (HNO 2020)
986,000 people in need (HNO 2020)
274,000 internally displaced people (HNO 2020)
470,000 non-displaced stateless in Rakhine
**Funding Overview and Partnerships***
UNICEF appeals for US$ 46.04 million to sustain provision of critical and life-saving services for children and their caregivers in Myanmar. UNICEF is currently using funds received from ECHO and USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance in mid-2019 for continuing programmes. UNICEF expresses its sincere gratitude to all public and private donors for contributions in previous years to support the children of Myanmar. Details of UNICEF’s budget requirements can be found in Annex B below and include significant requirements for all of UNICEF/Myanmar’s ongoing emergency programmes including Child Protection, WASH, Health, Nutrition and Education.
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
The situation in Myanmar continues to be mired in conflict and displacement, particularly in Rakhine State and northern Shan State. The map, right, from the 2020 Humanitarian Needs Overview shows the vulnerability of various populations throughout the country with notable risk areas in Rakhine, Paletwa Townships of Chin State, significant portions of Kachin State, northern Shan State and several townships in Kayin State. The nature of the conflict and needs of the populations vary by location requiring a multi-faceted and unique approach in each location. In addition, a significant number of IDPs in Kachin and northern Shan, reside in areas controlled by ethnic armed organizations; areas UNICEF has not been able to access since early 2016. Localizing the response through strong national organizations and communities remains a focus of UNICEF’s humanitarian work countrywide.
In Rakhine, the most recent figures issued by the Government count over 50,000 people displaced by fighting between the Arakan Army and the Myanmar military.
The fighting has added to an already precarious situation for the nearly 130,000 IDPs, primarily Rohingya, living in IDP camps in central areas of the State. The needs of these 180,000 displaced people and other conflict affected populations is central to UNICEF’s humanitarian programming. This includes addressing gaps in water supply and sanitation, education, and child protection. UNICEF continues to receive reports of children and other civilians injured or killed due to armed conflict and works to ensure all Grave Violations against children are channelled through the monitoring and reporting mechanism.
In northern Shan State, armed conflicts between the Myanmar military and ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) or between varying EAOS continued in January in Manton, Namhsan, Hseini and Kyuakme townships. Shelling and gunfire reported killed a dozen civilians. Violence in northern Shan continues to be characterized by short-term displacement to churches, monasteries or other public locations as fighting flares up in a particular village/area. While local communities continue to act as first responders, the coping mechanisms of all communities is starting to wear under the years of required response support.
In Kachin, the tentative cessation of fighting is sustained and the push for identifying and implementing durable solutions for nearly 100,000 people, displaced since 2011, gained momentum in January. The Government convened a highlevel meeting to look at operationalization of the National Strategy on Closure of Camps as well as a concept note provided by the United Nations which identified actions which could be taken to support voluntary and inclusive return, relocation or resettlement. An estimated 500 IDPs from three of the selected 17 communities have been identified as potential “pilot programmes” to kickstart returns. Humanitarian agencies including UNICEF continue to engage with Government officials offering support and advocating to all solutions and movements are informed, adhere to international principles on displacement and return, and ensure that identified return locations are safe, secure, free of landmines and UXOs and allow for livelihoods and basic service provision to resume.