Monthly Report | August 2023

Myanmar-Bangladesh border guards are reported to Patrol on Naff river along the border areas on August 23, 2023 (Photo/Narinjara)

The Flooding, and Rise of Armed Groups’ Activities in Arakan Add Another Layer of Hardship

Monitoring of a brief situation of political tension, economic issues, social issues, and humanitarian issues in Western Myanmar in August 2023.

About report

This report is a part of the monthly report series by the CAS. The report usually covers four key areas happening in the state of Rakhine. The first part covers the politics concerning the armed revolution, the junta activities and political freedom, etc. The second is about the economic situations of the state that correspond to issues like rising prices, declining demand, foreign direct investment, and border trade, etc. Then, it is the third and fourth sectors which touch the social issues such as education, health, and migration in the region and for the humanitarian sector, the key items are post-Cyclone Mocha related situations and recovery activities and IDP population.

The key data in the report comes from the local media outlets such as the DMG, Western News and other sources. This report is aimed to contribute a new shell of light for those observers who are trying to understand and watch the dynamics happening in the region.

Key Remarks

In the politics of Arakan during August, the state of civic and political freedom is still not healthy although the state is under a de facto informal ceasefire between the ULA/AA and Junta regime. Offensive military activities of the junta have come to increase while the two parallel authorities are in a state of suspicion and doubt. The increasing movement of the Rohingya armed militants such as the ARSA and other groups also brought concerns among the local population in the northern part of Arakan, bordering to Bangladesh.

The state of Arakan economy, even after the four months of the Cyclone Mocha, is still not fully recovered. Many families and local businesses are struggling with the rising prices of the basic commodities and kyat depreciation. Meanwhile, the border trade with Bangladesh also faced various challenges ranging from the reduction of the trade volume to the restriction of the junta authorities on certain commodities. Farmers and agricultural communities still do not receive enough loans from the junta authorities.

While the social consequences of the Cyclone Mocha strike are still developing, the torrential flooding in many townships of the state brought more challenges and miseries for the local population. Many acres of farmland and plantation developed after the Cyclone Mocha are again destroyed by the flooding during August. Local community members become more vulnerable, and many are forced to migrate into other parts of the country and neighboring countries.

The junta authorities in Arakan have still blocked the humanitarian assistance of the UN and international non- governmental organizations (INGOs) in Arakan despite being in massive need for the emergency relief. The IDPs camps destroyed by the Cyclone Mocha are again flooded during August. The World Bank released an assessment report on the impacts of the Cyclone Mocha and said that the total economic loss of the cyclone is USD 2.24 billion in which the damage in Arakan covers 27% of the total amount as around USD 600 million. The current humanitarian efforts by both the junta authorities and the ULA are far from satisfactory.

Table of Content

  • Part- I: Political Affairs
  • Part- II: Economic Situations
  • Part- III: Social Issues
  • Part- IV: Humanitarian Issues
  • Part- I: Political Affairs

    During the month of August, the political related news expressed by the local media agencies include the state of civic and political freedom, activities of the junta authority and military, armed revolution, ongoing peace process, the activities of Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), the junta projected election, and external relations.

    Starting with the news of civic and political freedom, 256 prisoners in Arakan were released in the latest junta amnesty on August 1, 2023 but there were only 62 related to the ULA/AA. Another news article also mentioned that more than 100 people, prosecuted on suspicion of being Arakan Army (AA) sympathizers, were still inside the bars. And, quite contraditically, on August 15, an Arakanese women’s activist was arrested for joining ‘rice crisis day’ event on August 13.

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    The CAS is an independent, non-partisan and research-oriented group conducting research and analyzing issues related to Arakan/Rakhine affairs.

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