Responding to emergencies
Children’s urgent needs are our priority.
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The core commitments
The Core Commitments for Children in Humanitarian Action – the CCCs – are at the heart of UNICEF policy and its framework for supporting the rights of children in emergency and crisis situations.
Wherever there is a humanitarian crisis, UNICEF strives to reach the hardest-hit and most vulnerable children and families with lifesaving and life-sustaining support, as quickly as possible.
In Myanmar, several continuing conflicts have resulted in large numbers of people being internally displaced and members of host communities, including children, in need of sustained help.
Three million people need help
- Prior to the military takeover on 1 February, the United Nations had identified more than 1 million people in need of humanitarian support.
- These included 455,000 children, mainly in Kachin, Rakhine and Shan states.
- Now the number has increased to 3 million people.
- More than 200,000 people, including children, have been displaced as the conflicts intensify.
- More places are in need of support, including parts of Chin State, Sagaing Region and the southeast.
A sharp increase in poverty since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, compounded by the current crisis, is also resulting in urgent needs for health, nutrition and water and sanitation services in urban areas, including Yangon and Mandalay.
How UNICEF is responding
UNICEF works to ensure that children living in sustained and unfolding humanitarian situations can access critical services when they need it most.
Together with national and international partners, UNICEF provides life-saving and life-sustaining services in:
- water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)
- child protection.
UNICEF leads the:
- WASH cluster
- Nutrition in Emergencies sector
- Child Protection in Emergencies subsector working group in Myanmar.
It co-leads the Education in Emergencies sector at the national level and in Rakhine and Kachin States.
UNICEF is rapidly adapting its programmes to reach as many people in need as possible across the country.
Together with local and international partners, UNICEF is helping children and communities in vital need to continue to access vital nutrition and health services.
Progress so far
- Nutrition supplies — including multiple micronutrient powder, multiple micronutrient tablets, vitamin A supplements and ready-to-use therapeutic food — benefited around 18,500 children and nearly 7,600 women during May 2021.
- Delivery of essential nutrition services has been expanded among children under the age of five and for pregnant and lactating women in conflict and emergency townships in Rakhine State.
- Preventive nutrition services are reaching Rakhine, Kachin and northern Shan States. Nutrition services have been significantly scaled up in Yangon Region.
Primary health care services
With UNICEF support, in May 2021:
- more than 5,500 affected people accessed primary health care services
- 449 children aged between 9 – 18 months were vaccinated against measles
- more than 2,300 people were reached with messaging on COVID-19 prevention and services.
Water and sanitation
Life-saving water and sanitation essentials continue to be sent to people living in camps for the internally displaced (IDPs), and to those in crisis areas in Rakhine, Kachin and northern Shan States.
UNICEF reached more than 8,900 people in 32 long-established IDP camps in seven townships in northern Shan State in May 2021, supporting:
- the provision of safe and adequate drinking and domestic water
- functional disposal of excreta
- the delivery of basic hygiene items.
In some areas newly affected by conflict, UNICEF and partners have supported the:
- construction of emergency latrines
- installation of hand-washing stations
- provision of critical WASH supplies, including hygiene items.
UNICEF is supporting WASH assistance and supplies to newly displaced persons, including 10,000 in the southeast, 10,000 in Chin State, and 5,000 in Kayah State.
In urban areas, UNICEF is working with partners to distribute safe drinking water, initially, to around 50,000 people.
Children’s education is vital for their well-being and future chances in life. Flexible learning opportunities for children are being scaled up, including home-based learning using high-quality educational materials. UNICEF and its partners continue are working to identify and support priority interventions to help children’s safe learning across the country.
The UNICEF child protection programme has:
- supported legal aid services for children and young people
- established a hotline providing legal advice
- stepped up data-collection and monitoring to inform responses and the extension of services.
The programme is also covering new humanitarian areas in Chin State, the southeast and other areas where partners are preparing to implement more:
- community-based responses
- case management
- mental health and psychosocial services.
UNICEF continues to advocate for unimpeded humanitarian access to all areas where children are in need.
During this crisis, UNICEF is determined to continue to support the most vulnerable children in Myanmar and their communities. Drawing on its 70-year track record in Myanmar, including during times of conflict and crisis, UNICEF is able to adapt programmes quickly and to mobilize its extensive network of partners to deliver results efficiently, and at scale.