Displaced children using a water pump in Rakhine State, Burma.
Displaced children using a water pump in Rakhine State, Burma.
Brian Heidel/USAID

Key Developments

Insecurity and military operations in Burma’s Rakhine State have prompted approximately 655,000 people to flee to neighboring Bangladesh since August 25, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The new arrivals join nearly 213,000 predominantly Rohingya refugees who fled Burma prior to August, bringing the total number of Burmese refugees in Bangladesh to nearly 868,000 people.

Ongoing violence in Burma’s Kachin and Shan states has resulted in deteriorating humanitarian conditions and prevented the return of internally displaced persons (IDPs) to areas of origin, the UN reports.

In early December, USAID's Office of Food for Peace provided approximately $7.6 million to the UN Children’s Fund to support nutrition programming in Bangladesh. Through the new contribution, the UN agency will provide ready-to-use therapeutic foods to 69,000 children experiencing severe acute malnutrition and conduct community-based interventions to manage acute malnutrition.

Rakhine Crisis

After a period of relative stability, the conflict intensified again in August 2017, following renewed attacks on checkpoints and police posts and subsequent military operations in northern Rakhine, prompting significant population displacement and humanitarian need. As of mid-December, nearly 655,000 people had fled to Bangladesh due to military operations and intercommunal violence in Rakhine.


Ongoing conflicts in multiple states of Burma have resulted in increased internal displacement and humanitarian needs in recent years. In June 2011, a ceasefire between the GoB and the KIO broke down, leading to an upsurge in conflict and associated displacement. In western Burma’s Rakhine State, several bouts of ethnic clashes starting in June 2012 resulted in casualties, property damage, and internal displacement. In Mandalay Region, clashes between Buddhist and Muslim residents of Meiktila city in March 2013 resulted in significant displacement and property damage in Meiktila and surrounding areas.

In addition, Burma faces a number of natural hazards, particularly cyclones, floods, and earthquakes. In May 2008, Cyclone Nargis made landfall in Burma’s Irrawaddy Delta, killing more than 84,000 people and devastating Burma’s agriculture sector and fishing industry.

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Last updated: January 05, 2018

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