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Last Updated: 17 December 2012

Casualties and Victim Assistance


Casualties Overview

All known casualties by end 2011

3,242 (303 killed; 2,738 injured; 201 unknown) since 1999

Casualties in 2011

381 (2010: 274)

2011 casualties by outcome

84 killed; 293 injured; 4 unknown (2010: 36 killed; 238 injured)

2011 casualties by device type

317 antipersonnel mines/IEDs; 15 antivehicle mines; 41 undefined mine; 7 ERW; 1 unknown device

In 2011, there were at least 381 new mine/explosive remnants of war (ERW) casualties in Myanmar, based on state and independent media reports as well as information provided by NGOs and other organizations. Of the 2011 total, 207 casualties were civilians and 133 were military; there were 41 for which the civilian status was unknown. At least three boys were injured and 13 casualties were adult women.[2]

Most mines causing casualties were recorded as antipersonnel mines. It has been reported by local risk education providers that victim-activated improvised explosive devices (IEDs) or “craft” antipersonnel mines are among the mine types causing casualties. People involved in mine and IED incidents are often not able to distinguish between these types of victim-activated explosive items so the type is not recorded.[3]

Past reporting by the Monitor has indicated that there are a significant number of military casualties recorded, but that such records are not generally available to the public.[4] There were no unpublished reports of large scale military casualties in 2011: some 200 were reported in 2010.[5]

The 2011 total represented a significant increase in casualties compared to the 274 from 2010 identified through similar reporting sources.[6] The Monitor casualty data for Myanmar represents an aggregate composition from available sources.[7] However, due to the lack of systematic data collection and varying sources of annual data, reporting is believed not to reflect the full extent of mine/ERW incidents and casualties in the country. As in the past, the data contained insufficient details to distinguish trends or to ensure that the details for all casualties were correctly recorded.[8] The actual number of casualties is thought to be much higher. The United States (US) Department of State reported that there were up to 600 mine casualties (100 killed, 500 injured) in Myanmar during 2010.[9] In 2012, upon request by the Monitor, the US State Department found that it could not verify this data.[10]

The total number of casualties in Myanmar is unknown. The Monitor has identified 3,242 casualties (303 killed, 2,738 injured, and 201 unknown) between 1999 and the end of 2011.

In addition to human casualties, village livestock and elephants are also affected by landmines in Myanmar. Most elephants killed and injured by mines are those used in the illegal cross-border timber trade. In August 2011, a mine-injured elephant was treated at the Thai Elephant Conservation Center.[11] One elephant died due to a mine injury in October 2011.[12]

Victim Assistance

The total number of mine/ERW survivors in Myanmar is unknown, but at least 2,738 survivors have been identified since 1999.[13]

Victim Assistance in 2011

In 2011, there was a slight increase in rehabilitation and economic inclusion services available to survivors, both within Myanmar and in the border area in Thailand. Availability of emergency medical services increased along the border with Thailand slightly in 2011,[14] but as in previous years remained extremely limited in conflict-affected areas of Myanmar. Accessibility to rehabilitation services improved in 2011 due to increased geographical coverage of outreach services.[15]

Restrictions remained in force on ICRC assistance for civilians in violence-affected areas along the border. However, in early 2012 an agreement was reached between ICRC and the government of Myanmar to restart ICRC support to the six government-run rehabilitation centers operating without external support since 2007.[16] The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) launched a livelihoods program for survivors in some townships in the southeast of the country late in 2011.[17]

In Thailand, most services continued at similar levels to the previous year. However, significantly, more conflict-injured patients, including mine/ERW survivors from Myanmar, received treatment at Thai hospitals with ICRC support in 2011 than in 2010.[18]

Assessing victim assistance needs

No assessment of survivor needs has been carried out in Myanmar. The Ministry of Health does not disaggregate injuries due to mines/ERW incidents from other traumatic injuries.[19] The First Myanmar Basic Disability Survey 2008-2009 was published and released in 2010. The survey covered few mine-affected areas.[20]

Victim assistance coordination

Myanmar does not have a victim assistance program or strategy. No structure or mechanism was responsible for the coordination and provision of victim assistance services specifically. The Ministry of Health is responsible for disability issues and facilitates rehabilitation while the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement is responsible for vocational training.[21]

Inclusion and participation in victim assistance

No inclusion of survivors in planning victim assistance activities was reported in 2011.

Service accessibility and effectiveness

Victim assistance activities[22]

Name of organization

Type of organization

Type of activity

Changes in quality/coverage of service in 2011

Ministry of Health


Prosthetic centers and two orthopedic hospitals


Ministry of Defense


Prosthetics provided through three centers


Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement


Socio-economic and rehabilitation services; vocational training school for adults with disabilities, including mine/ERW survivors

Unknown: Statistics not publicly available

Shwe Min Tha Foundation

Local NGO

Covered incidental medical care costs, transportation to medical centers, and food distribution


The Back Pack Health Worker Teams (BPHWT)

Local NGO

Mobile emergency medical service in eastern Myanmar

Decrease in the number of mine victims assisted

The Free Burma Rangers (FBR)

Local NGO

Medical care; trained and supported mobile medical teams

Decrease in services provided

Committee for Internally Displaced Karen People

Community-based organization

Prosthetic production at the Kho Kay Prosthetic Clinic, Mutraw, Karen (Kayin) state

Slight increase in prosthetics production

Karen Health & Welfare Department

Community-based organization

Provided medical first aid assistance and amputative surgeries


Karenni Health Workers Organization

Community-based organization

Provided prosthetics in Loikaw, Kayah (Karenni) state


Association for Aid and Relief Japan (AAR Japan)

International NGO

Vocational training; community-based rehabilitation; referral system; survivor rights/advocacy

Decreased number of mine victims in vocational training

ICRC/Myanmar Red Cross

International/national organization

Support to Hpa-an Orthopedic Rehabilitation Centre; prosthetic outreach for remote areas

Increased services to survivors; expanded outreach services; 12% increase in referrals; reached agreement to restart assistance to six government centers



Financial assistance for rehabilitation of war victims; economic inclusion through livelihood program

Since mid-2011 some coverage of Kayin and Mon states and Thannintharyi division

No changes to the quality of services provided by the government were reported.

Some New Light of Myanmar reports mention assistance to new mine/ERW casualties and in some cases their hospitalization, although details of the types of assistance provided were not mentioned.[23] In 2011, continued government restrictions imposed on the ICRC prevented it from carrying out assistance activities for civilians in violence-affected areas along the Myanmar-Thailand border. However, discussions between ICRC and government concerning restarting support to six prosthetic centers run by the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Defense led to technical visits in September and October 2011: in early 2012 the ICRC reached an agreement to restart its assistance to the centers.[24]

Myanmar has no laws to ensure the rights of persons with disabilities. The government did not provide social protection for private sector workers who became disabled. However, veterans with disabilities received benefits on a priority basis and non-military persons with permanent disabilities were also entitled to a benefit payment. There was inadequate state funding for services to assist persons with disabilities. Myanmar had no laws to ensure the rights of persons with disabilities.[25] However, in September 2011 the upper house of Parliament approved a proposal for a Disability Rights Law.[26]

Within its limited geographical scope, the First Myanmar Basic Disability Survey 2008-2009 found that 85% of persons with disabilities were unemployed and their level of education was far below the national average.[27]

On 7 December 2011, Myanmar acceded to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Convention entered into force on 6 January 2012.

Services in Thailand

Victim assistance activities on Thai-Myanmar Border and in Thailand for Myanmar nationals[28]

Name of organization

Type of organization

Type of activity

Changes in quality/coverage of service in 2011

Thai hospitals


Providing medical care to mine/ERW survivors from Myanmar and Cambodia

Provided assistance to more mine-injured than in previous years

Prosthesis Foundation

National NGO

Prostheses and assistive devices provided free-of-charge


The Mae Tao Clinic

National NGO

Prosthetics and rehabilitation services, trauma surgery, and other health services

Increased the number of people who received prostheses by 10%

Shan Health Committee (SHC)

Community-based organization

Prosthetic services in Pang Ma Pha, Wieng Hang, Mae Fa Luang, and Loi Kai Wan; and economic inclusion activities


Care Villa established by the Karen Handicap Welfare Association

Community-based organization

Assistance to blind amputee mine/ERW survivors in Mae La refugee camp


Clear Path International

International NGO

Grants and capacity-building support to community-based organizations for prosthetics and rehabilitation workshops; socio-economic reintegration and micro-credit; emergency services

Slight decrease of socio-economic reintegration and micro-credit services due to a funding shortfall; ended support to Mae La Refugee Camp and for community schools due to funding cuts; added support for emergency services with new funding

Handicap International (HI) Burmese Border Project

International NGO

Physiotherapy, prosthetics, and accessibility to buildings; social inclusion activities



International organization

Covers costs of hospitalization and surgery for war injured people from Myanmar in Thai hospitals

Provided assistance to nearly twice as many mine injured patients compared to 2010



[1] Unless noted otherwise, Monitor casualty data for 2011 is from published and unpublished sources. Published sources include media reports by the Irrawaddy, Mizzima, Democratic Voice of Burma, Bangkok Post, Kachin News Group, Burma News International, Independent Mon News Agency and the New Light of Myanmar between 1 January and 31 December 2011. Unpublished information provided to the Monitor by Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG), “Landmine Information: January 2011 – December 2011, Compiled for Landmine Monitor April 2012;” email from Cedric Piralla, Head of Office, ICRC Chiang Mai, 6 March 2012; email from BPHWT, 4 March 2012; and email from Larry, Stratton, Report Processing Director, Free Burma Rangers, 2 April 2012.

[2] The age and sex of 24 casualties was unknown, one was killed and 23 were injured.

[3] “Deadly Soil: Burma’s Enduring Landmine Tragedy,” 11 June 2011, Burma News International, www.bnionline.net. NSAGs reportedly also use captured factory-made mines. See, “The world’s longest ongoing war,” Aljazeera, 10 Aug 2011, www.english.aljazeera.net.

[4] See the 2009 edition of the Monitor report for Myanmar, www.the-monitor.org. Unprecedented levels of information on military casualties were received in 2008 from the State Peace and Development Council; 508 military casualties were identified. Information from this source has not been made available any other year.

[5] No other details were available. KHRG, “Interviews with Tatmadaw deserters confirm earlier reported incidents of abuse and general threats to civilians,” Update No. 48, 18 January 2011, (Appendix), www.khrg.org. Military casualties continued in 2011. See, “Burmese soldiers continue to suffer landmine injuries,” 16 March 2011, www.bnionline.net.

[6] See the 2010 edition of the Monitor report for Myanmar, www.the-monitor.org.

[7] It is possible that available data contains duplicate casualties, but this could not be verified given the limited amount of information provided. Information from one of the sources of casualty data, the state published New Light of Myanmar also reported a slight increase number of reports of mine casualties in Myanmar in 2011. The New Light of Myanmar reported 94 mine casualties in 2011 compared to 80 in 2010.

[8] In 2010 information on 40 of the 274 casualties identified lacked adequate details for unequivocal verification as unique entries; in 2011, 271 casualties had unique data, while the remainder lacked some details to cross reference such as the date or place of the incident, or age or sex of the casualty.

[9] US Department of State, “2010 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Burma,” Washington, DC, 8 April 2011. This estimate was not included in the total for 2010.

[10] Interview with Erin Webster-Main, Political Officer, US Embassy, Rangoon, 21 February 2012.

[11] “Landmine injured elephant one month later..,” Thai Elephant Conservation website, http://bit.ly/JACgL7; and Yeshua Moser-Puangsuwan, “Myanmar/Burma: Elephants continue to become landmine victims,” ICBL, http://bit.ly/IFdQzu.

[12] “Elephant wounded in Burma landmine explosion,” The Guardian, 13 September 2011, http://bit.ly/o2zv1A; and the 2011 edition of the Monitor report for Myanmar, www.the-monitor.org. The elephant was reported as injured in the 2011 report. However, it died on 31 October 2011.

[13] Based on 2,445 injured casualties between 1999 and 2010.

[14] Email from Cresa Leonard-Pugh, Southeast Asia Resident Manager, CPI, 28 May and 29 June 2012. CPI supported the Karen Department of Health and Welfare to provide emergency services along the border with Thailand, primarily near Tak province.

[15] ICRC “Physical Rehabilitation Programme: Annual Report 2011,” Geneva, June 2012, p. 53–54; and ICRC, “Annual Report 2011,” Geneva, June 2012, p. 227.

[16] Ibid.; and the 2008 edition of the Monitor report for Myanmar, www.the-monitor.org

17 Email from Corinne Beyer, Technical Assistant, UNHCR, 9 April 2012.

[18] Email from Cedric Piralla, Chiang Mai Sub-delegation, ICRC, 6 March 2012.

[19] UN Security Council, “Report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict in Myanmar,” S/2009/278, 1 June 2009, para. 38; and Ministry of Health, Annual Public Health Statistics Report, Naypyitaw, March 2011, http://bit.ly/KFRmju.

[20] Department of Social Welfare, “First Myanmar Basic Disability Survey 2008-2009,” Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, and the Leprosy Mission International (Myanmar), 2010. This survey is the only survey of disability to have taken place in the country. Not all townships were surveyed, including most of those in conflict affected areas.

[21] US Department of State, “2011 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Burma,” Washington, DC, 24 May 2012.

[22] Interview at BPHWT, Mae Sot, 4 March 2012; email from Larry, Stratton, Report Processing Director, Free Burma Rangers, 2 April 2012; interview with CIDKP, Mae Sot, 12 March 2011; email from Horie Yoshiteru, Secretary General, AAR Japan, 19 June 2012; email from Cedric Piralla, ICRC Chiang Mai, 1 June 2011, ICRC, “Annual Report 2010,” Geneva, May 2011, p. 244 and ICRC, “Annual Report 2011,” Geneva, June 2012, p. 226. The Hpa-An Center delivered 976 prosthetics for survivors in 2011 and 869 in 2010; email from Corinne Beyer, Technical Assistant, UNHCR, 9 April 2012. Indirect sourcing are from Monitor notes taken at the UNHCR Protection Working Group meeting, Yangon, 24 February 2012, by Yeshua Moser-Puangsuwan, Researcher, ICBL-CMC Monitor.

[23] Monitor media scanning for calendar year 2011.

[24] ICRC, “Annual Report 2011,” Geneva, June 2012, p. 225; ICRC “Physical Rehabilitation Programme: Annual Report 2011,” Geneva, June 2012, p. 53–54; and interview with Georges Paclisanu, Head of Delegation, ICRC, 24 February 2012, Yangon.

[25] US Department of State, “2011 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Burma,” Washington, DC, 24 May 2012.

[26] “Second regular session of First Amyotha Hluttaw continues for ninth day,” New Light of Myanmar, 2 September 2011, p. 10. It is unclear from the article whether a draft of this law has been written. It has apparently been referred to the Ministry of Social Welfare for action.

[27] ICRC, “Physical Rehabilitation Programme: Annual Report 2011,” Geneva, June 2012, p. 53.

[28] Interviews with Mayuree Pewsuwan, MSDHS, Sa Kaeo, 7 June 2012; email from Eh Thwa Bor, Mae Tao Clinic, 13 March 2012, and email from Lena Weller, International Coordinator, Help without Frontiers Thailand Foundation, 15 and 27 June 2012 (beneficiaries at the Clinic increased from 235 in 2010 to 260 in 2011); email from Karl Förster, Chairman, Between Borders, 17 June 2012. Between Borders no longer supports the SHC, but rather the Shan Education Committee, and handed over all SHC activities to other organizations, namely CPI; email from Cresa Leonard-Pugh, CPI, 28 May and 29 June 2012; email from Kiman Lucas, Executive Director, CPI, 29 June 2012. CPI continued to support many projects or programs it had in previous years but short-term support to some projects along the Thai-Myanmar border ended when PM/WRA funding for 2011-2012 was expended; email from Alexandre Baillat, Thailand Site Coordinator – Mae Sot, Thailand and Cambodia Regional Program, Handicap International, Mae Sot, 29 May 2012; email from Cedric Piralla, Chiang Mai Sub-delegation, ICRC, 6 March 2012; ICRC, “Annual Report 2010,” Geneva, May 2011, p. 278, and ICRC, “Annual Report 2011,” Geneva, June 2012, p. 251 & 253. ICRC treated 111 weapon-injured patients from Myanmar in 2011, of which 65 were mine/ERW casualties while 49 were treated in 2010. Supplementary information and reporting on other services was received from third-parties requesting anonymity or at meetings with service providers during Monitor field missions.