Almost 350,000 People Displaced in Northwest Myanmar Since Coup

By The Irrawaddy 21 April 2022

The number of Myanmar people displaced by fighting between resistance forces and the Myanmar military in anti-regime strongholds in the west and northwest of the country has exceeded 300,000 ‘for the first time’ since last year’s coup.

The United Nations (UN) Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in its latest humanitarian update on Myanmar that, as of April 11, 346,000 of the 566,100 people displaced since the military takeover are from Chin State and Sagaing and Magwe regions in the west and northwest of Myanmar.

“For the first time, displacement in the northwest has exceeded 300,000 people,” the OCHA report said.

Since mid-2021, resistance groups have flourished in Chin, Sagaing and Magwe, inflicting severe casualties on military regime forces.

The junta continues to struggle to control those regions, with several dozen People’s Defense Forces attacking military outposts, convoys, police stations and collaborators on a daily basis.

In response, regime troops have torched villages, accusing their residents of sheltering resistance fighters. At least 8,262 houses and other civilian properties, including churches, monasteries, schools and markets have reportedly been either burned down or destroyed, mainly in Sagaing and Magwe regions and Chin and Kayah states, the report said.

OCHA added that the regime’s use of heavy weapons, including airstrikes and artillery, as well as landmines and the presence of unexploded ordinance, continues to claim lives and pose risks to the safety and security of the civilian population.

“Since the military takeover, at least 1,600 people, including over 100 children, have been killed, and thousands injured or maimed,” the report stated.

Hundreds of thousands of men, women and children have fled their homes for safety since the February 2021 coup, with many of them forced to move multiple times, exposing them to grave protection risks.

As of 11 April, 2022, the total number of displaced people in Myanmar reached 912,700, according to UN figures.  

In addition, it is estimated that 34,500 Myanmar people are displaced in India and another 1,600 are displaced in Thailand.

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