In addition, the February 1, 2021 coup d’état led to a wave of protests and violent military crackdown throughout the country. These events caused new displacements and seriously worsened the economic situation of the country, which was already affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Positive COVID-19 cases and deaths have increased dramatically since June 2021, due to the highly contagious nature of the delta variant, and the weakening of the healthcare system. Restrictions on movement, exacerbated by the deteriorating health situation, have generated significant operational constraints. Given the large number of emerging needs, maintaining humanitarian access remains a priority.
The health crisis, coupled with a deteriorated economic and political situation has led the population into negative coping strategies. The most vulnerable are using their savings, reducing non-essential expenditures, and purchasing food on credit, thus depleting their productive assets.
In Kachin State, 17 years after the ceasefire agreement, the resurgence of conflict between the Burmese army and the Kachin Independence Army in 2011 led to massive internal displacement of the population (more than 100,000 people affected). In 2021, renewed fighting forced nearly 10,000 people to move within the region. This is in addition to the people already displaced* in 160 camps, half of whom are located in areas where humanitarian access is very limited.
In early 2021, transportation was blocked and the banking system collapsed, further complicating access to savings and local currency for civilians and humanitarian organizations. Finally, risks of landmines remain very high and populations have very little guarantee regarding their access to land and livelihoods.
In Arakan, one of the poorest states in the country and regularly prone to natural disasters, conflict between Muslim and Buddhist communities broke out again in 2012, causing the displacement of over 140,000 people. Since then, various waves of violence affected Arakan State, reaching unprecedented intensity in August 2017, and resulting in the flight of 740,000 Rohingyas (Myanmar’s Muslim minority), to Bangladesh. Today, it is estimated that approximately 500,000 Rohingyas live in Arakan State. They have a very restricted freedom of movement, especially those living in the camps located around Sittwe.
Since December 2018, the conflict between the Burmese army and the Arakan Army (an armed group affiliated to the Buddhist minority in Arakan) has led to an additional displacement of nearly 200,000 people and made access to the northern part of the state very restricted. Beside that, each year the Arakan State is affected by both cyclones, during the rainy season, and an increased period of drought throughout the rest of the year. Many coastal villages have no water from March to June. This situation is even more alarming in the Pauktaw camps, where the Rohingya populations have no freedom of movement. In 2020, between climate change (sea level rise) and the situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the dry season has been particularly challenging for populations: more water than usual was needed to fight the spread of the virus.
The displaced population in Myanmar is even more reliant on humanitarian assistance for food and water supplies, while health services, education, and access to livelihoods are almost non-existent.
Moreover, since the military takeover, approximately 208,000 people have been internally displaced. Clashes broke out between the Myanmar Armed Forces and local defense groups, particularly in Kayah, Kayin, Kachin, Shan and Chin states. The security situation in these areas remains volatile and the internally displaced persons across the country have very limited access to basic services, including health care.
Indeed, the COVID-19 pandemic and the military takeover bring into even sharper focus the problems that the people of Myanmar had already been facing.
- 54.4 million inhabitants
- 24.8% poverty rate in 2017
- 147th out of 189 on the Human Development Index
opened in 2008
18 international staff
330 national staff
- Budget 6M€
SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL’s first intervention in Myanmar goes back to May 2008 as a response to the Nargis hurricane in the Delta region.
Today, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL Myanmar intervenes in the States of Kachin and Rakhine. We provide the communities impacted by the conflict – displaced persons, returnees and host communities – with access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) as well as food security and livelihoods.
In the context of an extended humanitarian crisis, our priority is to provide the most vulnerable populations with emergency assistance and basic services, while working with communities and local partners. SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL implements emergency response activities through support for non-food items, access to water, sanitation and hygiene, as well as agricultural production and income generation (market gardening for displaced populations). In this way, the beneficiaries are given back some dignity and a certain degree of independence.
Thanks to our expertise in water, hygiene and sanitation, we have been able since 2020 to provide a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the support of our partners on the field. To address the threat of the pandemic, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL reinforced its hygiene awareness activities. All the necessary measures were put in place: communication on COVID-19 barrier gestures, physical distancing during the distributions, building of mobile hand-washing stations, intensification of the distribution of hygiene products (soap, disinfectants) and the diffusion of prevention guidelines through megaphone.
Funders: ECHO, USAID-BHA, FCDO/HARP-F, Crisis and Support Center (CDC for its acronym in French) & Interministerial Food Aid Committee (CIAA), Myanmar Humanitarian Fund (MHF/OCHA), UNICEF.
Implementation partners: Oxfam, Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC -local partner in Kachin), Wunpawng Ninghtoi (WPN – local partner in Kachin), Humanité & Inclusion (HI), Cart’ONG, Veolia Foundation.
Access to basic services and infrastructures
– Assistance in the areas of water (filtration systems), sanitation (construction of latrines, fecal sludge and waste management) and hygiene
– Interventions carried out through cash transfers
– Livelihood development activities (including support to farmers and fishermen)
Multisectoral emergency response
– WASH emergency assistance (kits donation, water distribution during the dry season…)
– Distribution of essential non-food items
– Distribution of conditional and unconditional cash
– Emergency activities related to the prevention of COVID 19 contamination risks (Adaptation and intensification of hygiene activities and distribution of kits, increased maintenance of sanitation infrastructures, etc.)
Community empowerment and resilience
– Access to water and improvement of sanitation and hygiene in schools and health centers
– Construction of sanitation infrastructure
– Promotion of hygiene behavior change
– Vocational training
– Creation and implementation of income-generating activities
– Promotion of disaster risk reduction through WASH and food security and livelihoods activities
Advocacy and technical expertise
– Active participation in key humanitarian coordination and advocacy mechanisms
– Cooperation with local actors (NGOs, civil society organizations, local authorities and technical departments)
– Capitalization and sharing of expertise in the field of fecal sludge management
Should you have any questions, please contact Raphaëlle Goepfert.
News from Myanmar
Myanmar : Humanitarian needs explode
Myanmar: water shortage and Covid-19 pandemic against a political crisis…
Myanmar: the challenge of water supply in Pauktaw
Kachin, Myanmar: a semblance of their former life
So close to home and yet so far
Myanmar: critical conditions in Ah Nauk Ye camp
At head office