UNICEF Myanmar Humanitarian Situation Report #3 (March 2020)


• As part of the preparedness and response to COVID-19 in Myanmar, UNICEF is working with partners to suspend or reorient activities to mitigate the risk to beneficiaries and partner staff. Life-saving activities continue.
• UNICEF is scaling up handwashing facilities, risk communication and protection activities as part of the COVID19 response.
• Fighting in Rakhine and Shan States continue to cause displacement and increasing needs; access remains extremely limited to these populations.
• Reports of grave violations of child rights continue to be recorded, affecting at least 80 children thus far in 2020.

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 million to sustain provision of critical and life-saving services for children and their caregivers in Myanmar. UNICEF/Myanmar received $454,270 from the Government of Denmark and an allocation of $1 million from global Humanitarian Thematic funding from Headquarters. These generous unearmarked contributions allow UNICEF to allocate funds to the areas of greatest need. Details of UNICEF’s budget requirements can be found in Annex B below and include significant needs for all of UNICEF/Myanmar’s ongoing emergency programmes including Child Protection, WASH, Health, Nutrition and Education.

Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs

In March, fighting between the Arakan Army (AA) and the Myanmar Military or Tatmadaw intensified in Rakhine and Chin States and the total estimated displacement now stands at 69,000, an increase of approximately 12,000 people in March alone. Clashes were reported on an almost daily basis in the townships of Buthidaung, Maungdaw and Rathedaung in northern Rakhine, and Minbya, Mrauk-U, Myebon, Kyauktaw, Ponnagyun and Ann in central Rakhine and in Paletwa Township of Chin State. The Kyauktaw and Paletwa areas have been a particular focus of fighting. The main road route between Yangon and Sittwe continues to be impacted by the conflict, with temporary closures occurring in various locations as a result of clashes. UN vehicles, including UNICEFs, have been stopped at checkpoints around Ann, Myebon, Minbya and Mrauk-U.

In Kachin, the desire to find durable solutions and an end to IDP camps is ongoing—though currently stalled by COVID19. UNICEF participated in a workshop with the ‘Joint Strategy Team” and the “Kachin Humanitarian Concern Committee” where consensus was reached on benchmarks to be met before returns can be supported. In northern Shan, clashes continue between the Ta'ang National Liberation Army and the Tatmadaw. Fighting in mid-March displaced 115 people and fighting and landmines killed additional civilians.


UNICEF Myanmar is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and provides information into the East Asia and Pacific Situation Reports being released frequently. The most recent Situation Reports for COVID-19 can be found here. As of 15 April 2020, WHO reported nearly 2 million confirmed cases and almost 125,000 deaths, with cases confirmed across 212 countries/areas or territories, including Myanmar, which has a total of 85 confirmed cases, including four deaths. While the first case in Myanmar was only reported on March 23, the country has been preparing for the pandemic since the outbreak began in China. To date, over 45,000 economic migrants have returned through official channels from Thailand, with hundreds of thousands more expected in coming weeks due to closure of shops or factories; the unofficial figures are estimated to be approximately 100,000 returnees already in country. The majority of confirmed cases are in Yangon, however there are close contacts under investigation and thousands in quarantine facilities in border areas, as well as positive cases in remote Chin State. All of these factors, in concert with poor traditional health-seeking and food/water sharing behaviours could contribute to widespread community transmission. As a result, the Ministry of Health and Sports (MOHS) has warned the country is at very high risk of a "major outbreak".