Displacement and widening conflict have increased during 2019, whilst funding and support to the displaced and their host communities has not kept pace with the need. This situation will likely continue as conflict over access to resources, large-scale illicit drug production and human trafficking, concerns over national infrastructure projects and a stalled peace process provide the backdrop for the race to the 2020 election.
In August and September 2018, flooding displaced over 150,000 people in the south-east of the country This culminated in the breaking of the Swar Creek Dam, flooding over 80 villages and compounding widespread food insecurity.
On 4 January 2019, the Arakan Army attacked four border guard posts in Rakhine state, starting a major new confrontation between Myanmar military and an ethnic armed group. As of April 2019, over 33,000 newly displaced people have been reported across Rakhine and Chin states. In the north-east of the country, the temporary ceasefire of early 2019 has been extended between the Myanmar military and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), but in Northern Shan fighting between ethnic armed groups has led to increased displacement.
People we helped in Myanmar in 2018
NRC Myanmar responds to the complex crises created by this civil war. We support displaced people as they encounter both short- and long- term issues.
We endeavour to direct our support to the most vulnerable populations throughout the country. To do so, we emphasise protection in all our programming and explore ways to combine them to maximise impact – for example, education and livelihood activities. We promote international humanitarian standards within camps.
In the south-east region, we work on cross-border activities in Thailand.
Working in partnership with displaced populations and camp and community leaders, we promote the respect of minimum standards and basic rights. Our teams:
- improve leadership in formal camps and displaced people’s participation
- advocate with local, national, and international actors
- improve basic camp services, especially for people with specific protection risks
- coordinate with other agencies to provide people fleeing in urban areas with shelter support and basic household items
We work with communities to develop programmes tailored to their needs. Our education teams offer:
- emergency education that gives short-term protection and psychosocial support
- vocational training in tailoring, food preservation, motorbike repair and construction apprenticeships
- life skills training that helps people avoid threats and reduces their protection risks
- support for the formal education system, helping children access local formal school systems
Information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA)
Our objective is to ensure that people affected by displacement, including minorities and those at risk of statelessness, can claim their legal identity and exercise their rights. Our experts:
- give information and counselling on rights, laws, and procedures related to housing, land, and property, to address the problems created by an unclear and inefficient land registration system
- help people get the right civil documents, like birth and marriage certificates
- work with refugees who fled across the border into Thailand, so they know and can exercise their rights
Livelihoods and food security
As displacement for people in Myanmar is becoming an enduring reality, NRC has begun to think longer term. We are:
- carrying out studies to assess the viability of expanding current projects into a full programme
- conducting business-oriented courses on basic business planning, marketing, and accounting in connection with education programming
- piloting livelihoods projects that will create long-term opportunities
Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) promotion
We prevent and respond to displacement with protective shelter and WASH for providing physical safety and protecting people from harm. Our teams:
- provide essential non-food items, temporary shelter options, and cash assistance for IDPs to meet their basic needs in an emergency
- rebuild and construct community infrastructure, like schools, that are resistant to disasters
- work with affected communities to improve shelter conditions
- promote good hygiene practices for people who have been displaced
- Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (NMFA)
- Norwegian Agency for Development cooperation (Norad)
- Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)
- UN refugee agency (UNHCR)
- OCHA’s Myanmar Humanitarian Fund (MHF)
- OFDA Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID)
- MyJustice Programme, funded by the European Union and implemented by the British Council
- Livelihoods and Food Security Trust Fund
- START Fund
- Mobile for Humanitarian Innovation Fund (GSMA)
About NRC in Myanmar
NGOs warn of worsening crisis in Myanmar, call for refugees’ engagement on safe, voluntary returns
Two years after being forced from their homes by mass atrocities in Myanmar, and striving for safety and dignity in Bangladesh, Rohingya are still waiting for justice and a say about their future, said 61 international and national organisations working in Myanmar and Bangladesh today. In a joint statement the agencies call for human rights for all to be recognised in Rakhine State and for Rohingya refugees to have a part in decision-making about their own lives, including their return to Myanmar.