Armed conflict between Arakan Army (AA) and the Myanmar military, security concerns and access limitations to areas where significant numbers of targeted children are located remain the biggest challenges to supporting children affected by conflict in Rakhine State. Similar challenges continue to impact UNICEF’s work in Kachin and northern Shan States.
Despite these challenges, during the month of April, UNICEF delivered hygiene kits and jerry cans to more than 4,000 people displaced by the fighting between the AA and Myanmar military.
As a result of UNICEF’s efforts to increase access to health services, UNICEF reached 4,282 people (83 percent of the monthly target of 5,833) which also allowed for in an increase in the number of children vaccinated against measles.
UNICEF cluster and sector leads are working on an addendum to the 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan outlining additional people in need as a result of the recent conflict between the Myanmar military and Arakan Army (AA) in Rakhine and Chin States.
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
During the month of April, the unilateral ceasefire called by the Myanmar Military in December for four months and then extended through June generally continued to hold in all areas of the country except Rakhine. In Kachin, this ceasefire has led to a relatively longer period of calm than has been experienced in several years. While this is a positive step forward, UNICEF and other humanitarian actors continue to have difficulty accessing different population groups�for assessment or response activities; this is particularly true in areas not under government control. In Shan State, though military action taken by Myanmar armed forces has halted, fighting and conflict among different armed ethnic groups continues to cause small-scale displacement for communities. Many of these communities have been displaced multiple times. While local communities are among the first to respond and support displaced populations, they have noted to humanitarian colleagues that their ability to provide assistance is becoming strained as resources are stretched due to the increasing frequency of displacement.
In Rakhine State, fighting between the Tatmadaw and Arakan Army (AA) continued in April causing a near doubling of displaced people. Impacted townships include Mrauk-U, Minbya, Ponnagyun, Kyauktaw, Rathedaung and Buthidaung and impacts mostly ethnic Rakhine populations, though Rohingya and other minority groups have also been affected. In Chin State, the number of IDPs in Paletwa township also doubled in April. Sixteen international non-governmental organizations released a statement on 1 April urging all parties to the conflict to ensure protection of civilian and be provided with unfettered and sustained access to all affected populations. The statement further identifies that at least 95,000 people living in the affected areas are unable to access basic and essential services which could jeopardize their health, food security and wellbeing.
The Government of Myanmar, local communities, the Red Cross Movement, and the World Food Programme (WFP) continue to be the providers of first response but are calling for an increase in the number of nationals and international organizations to be allowed to access populations in need. With the onset of the rainy season, agencies are particularly concerned about the potential for disease outbreaks and contamination due to overcrowded, poor shelters in some locations, and a lack of required services. Support to over 128,000 Rohingya IDPs in camps in central Rakhine continues.
Source: UN Children’s Fund