The number of IDPs in Myanmar doubles to 800,000 | India is blooming

New York: The number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Myanmar has doubled since February last year, now crossing the 800,000 mark, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees announced on Friday ( UNHCR).

Speaking to reporters in Geneva, UNHCR spokesman Matthew Saltmarsh said the agency was stepping up aid to the displaced as the conflict escalated.

“Security is rapidly deteriorating across the country as fighting and armed conflict escalate with no signs of abating,” Mr Saltmarsh said.

In total, some 440,000 people have been newly displaced since February 2021 – when a brutal military coup displaced the democratically elected government – adding to the existing 370,000 people who had fled their homes before.

The agency expects the trend to accelerate, with more travel in the weeks and months to come.

Young girls in a camp for internally displaced people in Myanmar draw water from a well., by UNOCHA/Z. Nurmukhambetova

Most affected regions

In the south-east of the country, the states of Kayin, Kayah, Mon and Shan (south) as well as the regions of Bago (east) and Tanintharyi account for more than half of the 440,000 newly displaced civilians.

Kayin and Kayah states remain the most affected, as hostilities between various armed groups have triggered large-scale displacements.

Another conflict-affected area with urgent humanitarian needs is the northwest, where around 190,000 people remain displaced in Chin State, Magway region and Sagaing region.

According to the agency’s spokesperson, humanitarian access in many areas remains restricted due to insecurity, roadblocks and difficulties in obtaining access permits.

As a result, host communities and local responders continue to play a leading role in assistance, showing solidarity with one another by giving what they can, Mr Saltmarsh explained.

Quick response

UNHCR is working with UN agencies, local partners and communities to help those affected. Last year, it reached some 170,000 people in nine states and regions.

In all sites, UNHCR and partners have distributed relief items, including tarpaulins, ropes, blankets, kitchen sets, mosquito nets, buckets, mattresses, sanitary kits, personal protective equipment COVID-19, solar lamps and wintering kits for adults and children.

Children play in Mynamar, Thet Kel Pyin Muslim IDP camp in Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine State, on January 29, 2019., by © UNICEF/Nyan Zay Htet

In Shan State, where an increasing number of displaced people have arrived from the conflict in Kayah State since the start of 2022, the agency recently established a temporary base to coordinate the distribution of emergency aid. .

The supply of relief items to Kayah in and around Taunggyi began in mid-January and quickly spread to neighboring townships.

In one month, UNHCR and its partners were able to reach some 10,000 IDPs in Shan and 2,000 in Kayah.

Humanitarian situation

The humanitarian situation in Myanmar remains precarious, with rising commodity prices, loss of jobs and income, disruption of basic services and prolonged insecurity.

For this reason, the majority of the displaced people therefore depend on humanitarian aid for their survival.

Some 600,000 stateless Rohingya in Rakhine State, including some 148,000 displaced in camps, villages and displacement sites, are in need of humanitarian assistance.

For 2022, UNHCR requires a total of $56.7 million to support vulnerable communities.

“Our priority will be to maintain basic safeguards, advocate for better access to fundamental rights, mitigate the risk of negative coping strategies, prevent forced returns and build the resilience of more than 1.2 million displaced and stateless people in Myanmar,” the spokesperson said.

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