Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
License needed for work use Register

World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Myanmar: Intense Fighting Spreads To Cities, As Civilians Seek Shelter

The conflict between ethnic armed groups and the Myanmar military has expanded to the country’s eastern and western regions, with urban areas increasingly affected by intense fighting and aerial bombardment, UN agencies have reported.

In the fighting so far, about 70 civilians - and combatants who are out of action - have reportedly been killed and over 90 wounded, according to the UN human rights office (OHCHR).

The fighting has also fuelled a fresh wave of displacement, driving over 200,000 people from their homes since 27 October.

In all, over two million people have been displaced across Myanmar.

Transport, communication disrupted

According to the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), key transport routes in areas with active fighting have been blocked by both the military and the ethnic armed organizations.

There are also reports that at least one critical bridge was destroyed, and an airport has closed, restricting people’s movements to safer locations as well as access for humanitarians.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

Telecommunication networks are being increasingly disrupted.

Reprisals forbidden

Spokesperson Jeremy Laurence, said OHCHR is closely monitoring developments in Myanmar, amid reports that several hundred soldiers have laid down their weapons.

“It is essential that all those captured are treated humanely,” he said on Friday, stressing that reprisals are absolutely forbidden under international law.

Individual soldiers are not collectively responsible for crimes and human rights violations that have been committed by the military,” he added.

The OHCHR spokesperson said past behaviour indicated that when the military junta’s forces suffered setbacks in the field, they use even greater force, through indiscriminate and disproportionate air strikes and artillery barrages.

“Over the past two years, we have documented the severe impact of such tactics on the civilian population,” he said.

UN chief deeply concerned

UN Secretary-General António Guterres also voiced deep concern over the worsening situation in Myanmar.

“He calls on all parties to adhere to international humanitarian law and do their utmost to protect civilians,” UN Spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric, said in a statement earlier this week.

Civilians should be protected in accordance with international humanitarian law, and those responsible for violations must be held accountable, Mr. Dujarric said.

“The Secretary-General appeals for unhindered access for the delivery of urgent humanitarian assistance and essential services through all channels. The safety and security for UN agencies and their partners is crucial,” he added.


Meanwhile, Myanmar’s Shan state, one of the provinces affected by the fighting, was struck by a 5.7 magnitude earthquake Friday morning shortly after 8 AM local time.

According to media reports, no casualties or major damage have been recorded. Earthquake modelling estimates suggest that about 20,000 people were exposed to significant tremors during the quake.



© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
World Headlines

UN News: Aid Access Is Key Priority

Among the key issues facing diplomats is securing the release of a reported 199 Israeli hostages, seized during the Hamas raid. “History is watching,” says Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths. “This war was started by taking those hostages. Of course, there's a history between Palestinian people and the Israeli people, and I'm not denying any of that. But that act alone lit a fire, which can only be put out with the release of those hostages.” More

Save The Children: Four Earthquakes In a Week Leave Thousands Homeless

Families in western Afghanistan are reeling after a fourth earthquake hit Herat Province, crumbling buildings and forcing people to flee once again, with thousands now living in tents exposed to fierce winds and dust storms. The latest 6.3 magnitude earthquake hit 30 km outside of Herat on Sunday, shattering communities still reeling from strong and shallow aftershocks. More

UN News: Nowhere To Go In Gaza

UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said some 1.1M people would be expected to leave northern Gaza and that such a movement would be “impossible” without devastating humanitarian consequences and appeals for the order to be rescinded. The WHO joined the call for Israel to rescind the relocation order, which amounted to a “death sentence” for many. More

Access Now: Telecom Blackout In Gaza An Attack On Human Rights

By October 10, reports indicated that fixed-line internet, mobile data, SMS, telephone, and TV networks are all seriously compromised. With significant and increasing damage to the electrical grid, orders by the Israeli Ministry of Energy to stop supplying electricity and the last remaining power station now out of fuel, many are no longer able to charge devices that are essential to communicate and access information. More


Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.