Myanmar Humanitarian Response Plan 2022 End-Year Report (1 January to 31 December 2022)
11 April 2023
Changes in Context
Throughout 2022, the people of Myanmar faced an unprecedented political, human rights, and humanitarian crisis that posed grave protection risks for civilians, limiting access to vital services including health and education, and causing worsening food insecurity. Humanitarian needs deepened across the country as conflict raged unabated, causing record levels of displacement, destruction of property, and explosive ordnance contamination, especially in the country’s Northwest and Southeast.
Forced recruitment of civilians, including of children, by armed groups jumped dramatically in 2022, while the use of heavy weapons such as airstrikes and artillery fire resulted in civilian casualties, damage to properties and constant threats to civilian safety. Access for humanitarian responders was heavily constrained, with bureaucratic blockages around registration, travel, banking, and visas, undermining the quality and reach of operations. Throughout the year, surging inflation forced up the prices of essential commodities, food items, and fuel, adding to financial stress for vulnerable households, worsening poverty and increasing the cost of humanitarian operations. Despite these barriers, humanitarians stayed and delivered, reaching a record 4.4 million people in need.
Expansion of conflict
Clashes and attacks escalated across multiple states and regions in Myanmar throughout 2022, affecting the lives of civilians on a much wider scale, further compounding their already stressed living conditions.
Fighting between the Myanmar Armed Forces (MAF) and various Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs) and People’s Defence Forces (PDFs) escalated, particularly in the Northwest and Southeast, in 2022. The humanitarian and security situations in the Southeast deteriorated, with armed clashes and heavy use of air strikes and shelling occurring in all states and regions. Fighting in Kayin escalated in Lay Kay Kaw Town in Myawaddy Township in December 2021 resulting in the displacement of thousands of civilians both within the state and across Myanmar’s borders. Intense armed clashes occurred in many townships in eastern Bago, Kayah, Mon, southern Shan, and Tanintharyi. The presence of military troops in residential areas, reports of indiscriminate shooting, destruction of civilian properties, including houses, schools, churches and monasteries, and reports of landmine incidents in multiple locations across the country’s southeast all remained major protection concerns at year’s end.
The security situation in Chin, Magway and Sagaing in the Northwest continued to deteriorate throughout the year, with a dramatic increase in the number of displaced people and growing civilian protection threats amid armed clashes between the MAF and various PDFs. Large-scale burning and destruction of civilian properties was reported across the Northwest. As of 26 December 2022, more than 795,000 people remained displaced across the Northwest due to conflict and insecurity since the 2021 military takeover (68 per cent of all new IDPs nationwide).
Disruption of electricity and internet services in various parts of Myanmar, particularly in conflictaffected areas in the Northwest and Southeast, significantly hindered information-sharing and other communications among residents, undermining remote humanitarian assessments and engagement with affected people. Despite the growing humanitarian needs reported during the year, heavy restrictions were imposed on the transportation of rice, medicine, and fuel in conflict areas.
The situation in Rakhine and southern Chin, which had remained relatively calm since November 2020 following the lull in fighting between the Arakan Army (AA) and the MAF, again turned towards active conflict in August 2022. The use of heavy weapons, airstrikes, landmines, and mortar shelling occurred in multiple townships, mainly in Buthidaung, Maungdaw, and Rathedaung in northern Rakhine and Kyauktaw, Minbya, and Mrauk-U in central Rakhine. In a new dynamic, conflict between the AA and the MAF also spread into southern Rakhine in 2022. Security measures across many townships limited people’s movement, partially obstructing the delivery of humanitarian assistance. On 15 September 2022, the de facto authorities prohibited international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) and the United Nations from accessing six key townships – Buthidaung, Maungdaw, Minbya, Mrauk-U, Myebon, and Rathedaung. An additional two townships were also added in early November (Pauktaw and Sittwe). An informal ceasefire was reached between the AA and the MAF later in November which allowed for the relaxation of some movement restrictions and at year’s end humanitarian partners were working to use the window of opportunity to deliver and pre-position much-needed supplies in communities that had been cut off during the preceding months of fighting.
This new outbreak of conflict placed Myanmar at ACAPS' highest ranking for the risk of ‘‘rapid and marked deterioration” within an existing crisis.4 It affected both Rohingya and Rakhine communities who have been caught between the two forces. Overall, close to 23,350 people remained displaced in Rakhine and Paletwa Township of Chin as a result of the resumed conflict between the AA and the MAF, bringing the total number of IDPs from past and present AA-MAF conflict to close to 97,000, as of 5 December 2022, according to UN figures. IDPs from this conflict are now being encouraged to return home by the de facto authorities but there are concerns that this is premature given that many people’s land or houses have been occupied, and because people’s places of origin are now contaminated by explosive ordnance. Efforts are being made to ensure that all returns are voluntary, safe and dignified.
The situation in northern Shan remained unstable in 2022 with continued clashes between the MAF and EAOs and among EAOs. Moreover, PDFs have become more involved in the conflict in northern Shan. The armed clashes led to multiple cases of new displacement. According to UN figures, as of 26 December 2022, approximately 8,300 people remained in temporary displacement sites and protracted camps in northern Shan, while 61,900 people (including IDPs displaced from Kayah) remained displaced in southern Shan.
In Kachin, armed conflict that resumed between the MAF and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) following the 2021 military takeover continued in many townships throughout 2022. The intensification of armed clashes varied from roadside attacks to aerial bombardment and deployment of heavy weapons. The involvement of PDFs in the fighting became more frequent in 2022, as many formed alliances with the KIA against the MAF. Airstrikes with dozens of civilian casualties were also reported across Kachin. As of 26 December 2022, an estimated 13,600 people were internally displaced in Kachin because of fighting and insecurity since the February 2021 military takeover, according to the UN’s figures. This is in addition to the 91,500 people who were already displaced prior to 2021.