In January 2022, the number of new IDPs have significantly increased with a total of 85,000 new verified IDPs.
Early January in the South-East, 21,300 people were displaced from Kayin State in the Lay Kay Kaw area of Myawaddy Township, following Tatmadaw airstrikes and clashes between security forces and a combined force of the Karen National Union (KNU) and People’s Defence Force (PDF).
In the second week, due to indiscriminative shelling and armed clashes about 15,200 people were displaced to Kayah, Kayin and Shan (South) states and Tanintharyi Region, in addition to some 890 people estimated to have fled to Thailand. In total, some 2,800 people remained on the Thai side of the border in early January. With the conflict intensifying in Kayah state, the number of new IDPs in Shan State (South) increased with 6,130 individuals were displaced from Pekon town and nearby communities due to continued clashes between the Tatmadaw and local resistance groups, seeking safety at various villages and locations further in Pekon Township. Furthermore, over 2,200 people were displaced to Mongkaing town between in January due to inter-EAO conflict between the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) and Shan State Progress Party (SSPP).
The third week was not different as the number of displaced people continued to increase with 17,712 newly displaced individuals. The main hosting area for new IDPs remained Taunggyi and its surrounding townships in Shan (South) State with 15,238 new IDPs. Furthermore, the conflict within Kayah State had brought about 2,125 newly displaced to Demoso, Hpruso and South Pekon. However, the continuous airstrikes and clashes in many parts of the SE had led to secondary displacements to safer locations with better access to services and assistance. In Kayin State, clashes intensified in Myawaddy, Kawkareik and Hpapun townships with shelling and airstrikes as well as attacks on the roads. 186 people displaced towards Hpa-an and Hpapun, most of them as secondary displacements.
During the fourth week, the number of displaced people continued to increase with 19,765 new IDPs, which brought the total number to stand at 237,700. This figure included 237,100 IDPs in Kayah, Kayin, Shan (South) States and Bago East and Tanintharyi Region. In addition, it is estimated that 600 people remained on the Thai side of the border but spontaneous and/or forced returns occurred during the week. The reception area for new IDPs continued to be Taunggyi and its surrounding townships in Shan (South) State with 10,000 new people displaced. In Kayah State while the number has decreased compared to the previous week, airstrikes by the Tatmadaw had been reportedly taking place in Hpruso, Demoso and Loikaw impacting civilians. In Kayin State, clashes heavily intensified in Myawaddy, Kawkareik and Hpapun townships with shelling and airstrikes as well as attacks on the roads. The situation is worsening in the area with a significant increase of IDPs.
Toward the end of January, the total number of IDPs had slightly decreased compared to the previous weeks, a total of 232,600 people were displaced, including an estimated of 600 people still remaining in the Thai border. The decrease is due to the return of about 5,900 people from South Shan to Pekon Township. In this area the conflict has temporarily ceased allowing people to return. The cold weather, lack of shelter, lack of proper clothing, lack of water and food should are considered as the main contributing factors to their return. However, the airstrikes resumed on 28 January which may lead to another displacement. In Kayin State, about 2,100 people also returned to Hpa Lu area.
Despite the returns, large displacements were also veriifed with 7,900 people displaced from Loikaw and Demoso to Shan South (Hsihseng and Pekon Township, but also to Kayin State (mainly to Thandaunggyi Township). In Tanintharyi Region, approximately 1,000 people left from at least seven villages of Dawei, Thayetchaung and Yebyu Townships following the intensified clashes between the Myanmar Armed Forces/MAF and local People’s Defence Forces.
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees