People in Myanmar were already facing Covid-19 and experiencing protracted and short-term displacement due to conflict and insecurity, mainly in Rakhine, Shan, Kachin, and Chin states. Over 1 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, particularly in Rakhine, where 470,000 non-displaced stateless Rohingya have extensive unmet needs.
The coup will exacerbate existing humanitarian needs, has the potential to further restrict humanitarian access and to disrupt basic operations. The extent to which this occurs, and which populations are most effected depends on how the coup dynamics play out in the different regions over the coming months. In the short term, the coup has compounded the existing high needs of affected populations; we expect a further increase of humanitarian needs unless there is a substantive change of approach.
The high level of uncertainty will necessitate reviewing and rethinking assistance for Myanmar, with humanitarian response, increasingly led by national partners, at the heart of it. A strong humanitarian response delivered in the context of the coup can, in addition to meeting basic needs and over time, provide a space for piloting mechanisms of assistance that work outside of government systems. A major event such as a military coup provides humanitarian donors with the opportunity to develop innovative solutions and push the boundaries of business-as-usual. Going forward, humanitarian response, with secured, multi-year, predictable financing, should be the central pillar to the assistance provided to Myanmar.
This plan makes recommendations for the overall humanitarian response in Myanmar, as well as state and sector-specific ones.