Armed conflict between the Karen National Union (KNU) and the Myanmar Armed Forces (MAF) in south-eastern Myanmar escalated during the reporting period. On 27 March, airstrikes launched in Hpa-pun District in Kayin State led to the displacement of an unconfirmed number of people from and near the Day Bpoo Noh Village, which is located 20 km away from the border with Thailand. The hostilities and insecurity have also raised fears of further armed clashes among the local population in Ei Thu Hta Village in Hpa-pun Township in Kayin State and more than 2,400 people have fled the area across the border to Thailand on 28 March to seek shelter. Humanitarian partners continue to advocate to be granted access to this group and for them to be transferred to a location where their physical security and essential needs can be addressed.
Meanwhile, over 7,100 people remain displaced in Kayin State and Bago region due to armed clashes and insecurity since late December 2020, with many of the displaced families hiding in the jungles in Kayin State. Humanitarian partners continue to face severe challenges in accessing the displaced families, who are in need of emergency assistance, including food and basic household materials. Kayin State and Bago Region already hosted a total of 13,000 IDPs in in the camp-like and out-of-camp situations since 2006.
About 66,000 people in Maguindanao Province have been displaced since 18 March as the military launched law enforcement operations against the non-state armed group Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters. Close to half of the total population in the affected towns of Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Datu Salibo, Mamasapano , Shariff Aguak and Shariff Saydona Mustapha are currently displaced in 55 evacuation centers and are assisted by the Bangsamoro regional government and local governments, with support from the Mindanao Humanitarian Team (MHT).
PAPUA NEW GUINEA
Confirmed COVID-19 cases continue to increase quickly in Papua New Guinea. As of 23 March, PNG shows about 4,109 confirmed COVID-19 cases in 19 provinces. This is an increase of 1630 cases in the last seven days, with the number of confirmed deaths now 39. On 22 March, new COVID-19 containment measures were announced. Sample collection continues to be low or non-existent from Oro, Simbu, Madang and Gulf. Due to critical shortage of GeneExpert cartridges in PNG and globally, GeneExpert platform usage is only for symptomatic health workers individuals with serious acute respiratory infection (SARI). National Control Center (NCC) quarantine teams continue to face challenges with staffing due to administrative issues. The New Zealand Defence Force provided PPEs on 20 March. The Australian Government delivered 8,000 AstraZeneca vaccine to PNG on 23 March. The Australian Medical Assistance Team (AUSMAT) also arrived in country along with medical and humanitarian supplies, including three mobile storage units and five community tents. The AUSMAT health specialists will work alongside PNG authorities to help assess PNG’s public health, medical supply and equipment needs. The Australian Government has suspended flights between Port Moresby and Cairns for the next two weeks.
In the early hours of 29 March, a massive fire at an oil refinery of the State-own company Pertamina in Balongan, Indramayu Regency of West Java led to 20 people hospitalized and about 950 people were evacuated. The incident response is being led by the company and local government, by caring for the injured and displaced, and evacuating the area within two kilometers radius from the fire. The displaced people were hosted at the Pertamina Bumi Patra sport-hall, the Regency office compound, and the regency’s Islamic Center Building.
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs