Number of displaced people continues to rise amid violence in Myanmar

Myanmar people  in Yangon Myanmar people in Yangon Photo by Zinko Hein on UnSplash

28 April 2021

Renewed clashes in Myanmar forced the displacement of nearly 5,000 people which only fueled  the fragile humanitarian situation of the country.

In its weekly bulletin, the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported armed clashes between the Myanmar Armed Forces and the Kachin Independence Army throughout the Kachin State. Although the number of civilian casualties has been  limited (three civilians were injured), the overall number of displaced people is on the rise, as nearly 5,000 people were forced to leave their villages. Although 800 of them returned, thousands of people were forced to flee their homes since November 2020, when tensions started in Myanmar.

The election of Aung San Suu Kyi-led National League for Democracy (NLD) with more than 80% of the seats, sparked protests from the military. By claiming irregularities in the election process, the military   managed to overthrow the government on 1 February 2021. Since then, mass arrests, secret trials and unlawful detentions have been systematically carried out by the new government to the extent that thousands of people have been forced into hiding. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights warned that the severity of the situation resembles that of Syria in 2011, thus the risk of the start of a conflict is dangerously high. The ongoing political crisis only worsened an already dire situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic and pre-existing poverty. Both the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and UNICEF warned that the number of people living in poverty in Myanmar is on the rise.

The international community, led by the UN and its humanitarian partners, created a $276 million response plan to assist people in need. However, so far, only 12% of the promised amount has been delivered.


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Author: Martina Apicella; Editor: Aleksandra Krol

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