Humanitarian Access Blocked for Myanmar’s Kachin State

05/18/2019 Myanmar (International Christian Concern) – According to UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), in Kachin and northern Shan state, nearly 47,000 people have been temporarily displaced by fighting in 21 Townships since January 2018, triple the number of people during 2017. Civilians have been displaced multiple times, disrupting children’s education, while facing increased psychological trauma, especially for elderly people.

The United Nations has not been permitted by the Burmese government to deliver assistance to people in need in areas beyond government control since June 2016. There were 30 applications submitted to access these areas since January 2018, none were approved.

Access to people within government controlled areas continues to decline. Almost 20,000 people in remote areas cannot be effectively accessed as travel authorizations were not approved. Relative to people in main town areas, displaced people in remote areas suffer from a disproportional lack of quality food, nutrition, shelter, water, health and education.

A lack of sustained humanitarian access is preventing much needed improvements to their living conditions. Effective humanitarian access has not been granted to 55% of displaced people as travel authorizations were not approved for non-government controlled areas or approved with restrictions to main towns only in government controlled areas.

The ongoing armed conflicts in Myanmar’s northern states, where Christian majority ethnic group Kachin people live, have displaced more than 160,000, as they take shelter in over 140 camps. Although the Burmese government has recently drafted a national strategic plan to close Internally-Displaced Persons (IDP) camps and is working on the shutdown of IDP camps in Kachin State during the ceasefire period, it is unlikely that the IDPs will be able to return home soon.