Myanmar: Internally displaced double in a year after military coup

People protesting against the humanitarian crisis in Myanmar People protesting against the humanitarian crisis in Myanmar Saw Wunna on Unsplash

11 February 2022

The humanitarian crisis in the Myanmar region results in exponential growth in the number of IDPs and rapid deterioration of security

As of February 2022, a total of about 440,000 new displaced persons (IDPs) have joined the 370,000 who fled their homes before the brutal military coup in February 2021. According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) recent report, it is expected that the trend will worsen. Around half of the 440,000 newly displaced civilians live in Kayin, Kayah, Mon, Shan (South), and Bago (East) states as well as the Tanintharyi region. An increasing number of IDPs are arriving from conflict-affected Kayah State in Shan State. This prompted the UNHCR to set up a temporary base in the area to coordinate supplies with local partners.

Several armed groups continue to wage hostilities, forcing large numbers of people to flee their homes in the states of Kayin and Kayah. In the northwest, 190.000 people remain displaced in Chin State, Magway Region, and Sagaing Region.
As a result of insecurity, roadblocks, and difficulty obtaining access permission, humanitarian access remains limited in many parts of Myanmar. To assist those affected, UNHCR is currently cooperating with UN agencies, local partners, and local communities. Tarpaulins, ropes, blankets, kitchen sets, mosquito nets, buckets, sleeping mats, sanitary kits, as well as COVID-19 personal protective equipment, solar lamps, and winterization kits are being distributed at all locations. 

To assist the insecure communities of Myanmar, UNHCR has announced the need for $56.7 million in 2022. UNHCR spokesperson Matthew Saltmarsh spoke in Geneva on the 11 of February about the Myanmar crisis: “Our priority will be on maintaining basic safeguards, advocacy for improved access to fundamental rights, mitigating the risk of negative coping strategies, preventing forced returns, and building resilience for over 1.2 million IDPs and stateless people in Myanmar”.

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Author: Arianna Previtera

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