As of early February 1, the military of Myanmar has assumed control of the government.

We will continue to publish updates as we receive them.

March 15, 2021 Update

Unfortunately, there is little good news to bring you on the Myanmar Coup situation.

Over the weekend, things have worsened, and there have been several riots and arsons. This led to two townships being placed under martial law- Hlaing Thayar and Shwe Pyi Thar, which are industrial areas to the north of Yangon adjacent to the Hlaing River. On Monday morning, martial law was extended to 4 more townships; North Dagon, South Dagon, Dagon Seikkan, and North Okkalapa.

Violent incidents are on the increase, and it would not be out of the question that the military adopts marital law for broader areas of Yangon or other cities. The situation remains incredibly volatile, with daily tension escalations as the military across the country disperses protests. Many injuries and further deaths have been reported daily.

Only government banks are open, and withdrawals have limited capacity.  Shopping and supermarkets are not all open and those that are operating on limited hours.  The wifi is working, but there is no mobile data on local sim cards.  Mobile phones with overseas sim cards can still use data via roaming.

Should you be residing in Myanmar, we recommend leaving Myanmar unless you have an essential reason to stay. Evacuation flights are available, but your options will depend on your nationality and situation.

Recently, both the American Chamber and the British Chamber have been in discussions regarding chartered emergency flights that are not subject to nationality restrictions. We would recommend that you stay in touch with your embassy, as they will undoubtedly be aware of the options available to you.

As per the directions given by security company Exera Myanmar (https://www.exera.asia/), if you are in Myanmar, please;

  • It is key to stay at home and work from home. Avoid any non-necessary movement.
  • Avoid the main areas of tension: Hledan and Hlaing, Myaynigone, downtown, Yankin, Tamwe, North Dagon, North Okkalapa
  • Avoid any gathering; be careful about any increase of tension and the deployment of police/military vehicles.
  • During episodes of violence, take shelter in the nearest shop, house, staircases; stay away from windows; do not film.
  • If you live in a sensitive area, consider moving to a relocation place.
  • At night, intrusions are reported, included in some high-standards residences. Make sure your compound is well-fenced; lock your residence’s accesses and your apartment’s doors. Do not go out in case of intrusion. Your flat is most probably the safest place.
  • Keep your mobile charged and keep a power bank with you; keep some supplies within reach.
  • Top up your sim card and get additional sim cards from different operators. Get prepared to work without the Internet.
  • Refrain from any public statement or any potentially-contentious comment on social media.
  • Make sure you are well registered with your embassy, that they know you, your address, and your contact details.

March 7, 2021 Update

The coup situation in Myanmar has now entered its 2nd month and there is no indication that any resolution will be seen soon. In fact, tensions have reached their highest point in this last week and many citizens have already lost lives through altercations between the military police and protestors.

While things need to be looked at on a day-by-day basis, there is now every chance that things will further worsen. Due to bank closures and the disobedience movement, there is currently limited access to cash and many people are running out. Due to strikes and restrictions on movements, distribution of goods is interrupted resulting in low supplies at supermarkets and stores.

It would be fair to say that the situation has reached a level that many companies will judge to be past their threshold for “wait and see” type policies.  We expect that many companies and other foreign individuals will begin to evacuate from the country as a safety precaution. Indeed as we write this, there are rumors that Yangon will be put on a 24/24 lockdown, which if true is only likely to cause the situation to further escalate. We certainly hope it doesn’t, but it would seem to be prudent to begin pulling your expatriates out of the country now, before they are stuck or put in further danger. Singapore has today issued such a notice to its people, strongly recommending that they return to Singapore now, while they can.

From out team, the current situation and advice:

  • Make sure that local registration /Form-C are duly updated and not expired.
  • If not evacuating, have an emergency departure plan from the county
  • Getting groceries is not a big concern right now but because some of the major supermarkets and shopping malls have been closed for the past few days, getting their usual supplies in the next few weeks could become an issue for expats if this continues.
  • Retail Banks are still shut, but ATMs are still operational with cash running low.

As per the reporting of “Exera” (www.exera.asia), if you are still in Myanmar, please;

  • It is key to stay at home and work from home. Avoid any non-necessary movement.
  • Avoid the main areas of tension: Hledan and Hlaing, Myaynigone, downtown, Yankin, Tamwe, North Dagon, North Okkalapa
  • Avoid any gathering; be careful about any increase of tension and of the deployment of police/military vehicles.
  • During episodes of violence, take shelter in the nearest shop, house, staircases; stay away from windows; do not film.
  • If you live in a sensitive area, consider moving to a relocation place.
  • At night, intrusions are reported, included in some high-standards residences. Make sure your compound is well-fenced; lock your residence’s accesses and your apartment’s doors. Do not go out in case of intrusion. Your flat is most probably the safest place.
  • Keep you mobile charged and keep a power bank with you; keep some supplies within reach.
  • Top up your sim card and get additional sim cards from different operators. Get prepared to work without Internet.
  • Refrain from any public statement or any potentially-contentious comment on social media.
  • Make sure you are well registered with your embassy, that they know you, your address and your contact details.

 

Our Relo Network Asia team, through our local entity Myanmar Relo Solutions, is partially operational in Yangon. We are currently operating when and as it is safe to do so. Over recent days we have received a number of requests for assistance with departures. For Expats who are evacuating quickly, and exit the country prior to packing up personal items or terminating rental leases, we have implemented the Emergency Departure Program developed for the pandemic.  Under this program, we act on behalf of the assignee, can conduct the moving surveys and oversee the packing of items as well as return the property to the owner or agent representative.

 

February 17, 2021 Update

  • We can only provide limited V&I services. Immigration is only processing urgent visa endorsements. Application is still possible. We have moved all our pending visa endorsements to next week based on the advice from Immigration office.
  • We can still provide DSP services, but activity will be limited by protests and traffic restrictions. Some areas may be considered too dangerous or too congested to provide services depending on the time or day. It is likely services would need to be broken into smaller blocks of time, making sure to keep our clients out of areas of friction. Based on security reports, there maybe days when we consider that providing services is not feasible, either in terms of client safety or in terms of our staff safety or availability amongst traffic, etc.
  • All private banks are shut.
  • All tax offices are shut so we will not be able to assist with stamp duty payment.
  • Flights are still operating.

February 15, 2021 Update

Over the weekend, there have been reports of numerous Army convoys across the country and in major cities.  Tensions have increases and the chance of an escalation event seem closer than before.  As of today, Myanmar, the police have blocked off the area around the NLD Headquarters and thousands of protestors have gathered there.

From EXERA, Myanmar’s leading security company Sunday, 14 February:

Troubles at night – During the night from Friday to Saturday, we already reported that intruders were arrested by communities in some Yangon wards; they were suspected of creating trouble. This trend continued last night, with numerous intrusions reported in Yangon and brawls with local residents, who have organized themselves into groups of vigilantes and fenced their wards. According to Democratic Voice of Burma, 3 former convicts released on 12 February were stopped by residents in Thingangyun; they were reportedly carrying bottles of chemical products which may be used to contaminate water tanks. Likewise, the BBC reported that one man was arrested in Thaketa in possession of substances and devices which may be used for arson. Such community arrests were  reported in Sanchaung, Tamwe, Mingalar Taung Nyunt, North Dagon Townships (Yangon Region), but also in other major towns of Myanmar; in Mawlamyine, one suspect was stopped by vigilantes.

Today’s pro-democracy protests – Protests continue across the country. Mobilization rates remain high, although they are challenging to verify independently. In Yangon, one can observe the same gatherings as in the last few days: 2 clusters of several thousands of protestors in Hledan and Sule, with dozens of groups shuttling between both via embassies. As yesterday, UNDP Office on Natmauk St remains a major gathering point, with 3,000 people reported. No violence has been reported. In Hledan, only traffic police can be seen; in Sule, only a few policemen guarding the town hall.

Outside of Yangon, protests were reported in Mandalay, Monywa, Lashio, Loikaw; in Nay Pyi Taw, 10,000 people were reported in the ministry zone; in Mandalay Region, media report 10,000 protesters in Yamethin, 200,000 in Myinchan-Pakokku area. In Mandalay town, the protest is led by more than 100 monks. In Meiktila, protestors were targeted by slingshots, but no major violence has been reported.

Civil Disobedience Movement – The CDM movement is spreading in Myanmar, prompting response from the authorities:

– Last night at 02:00 hrs, security forces summoned staffs and teachers from Meiktila Aerospace University who have joined the CDM and urged them to get back to work.

– Last night, police surrounded the Electric Power Corporation (EPC) compound in Myitkyina (Kachin State) and urged the CDM staff to get back to work. In Waingmaw, the army invested the EPC compound. This morning, a protest was organized to denounce the move; the army left the compound to the police.

– In Chipwi Township (Kachin State), 11 members of the General Administrative Department were temporarily suspended from duty for following the movement. In Naungcho (Northen Shan State), GAD staff also announced they are joining the CDM.

– This morning, in Mingalar Taung Nyunt Township (Yangon Region), 1,000 Myanmar Railways staff in CDM reported police pressure to resume train operations by tomorrow.

– This morning, 6 police officers and 1 traffic police officer joined the protestors in Dawei (Tanintharyi Region). 3 others joined the movement in Kayah State.

– several official orders circulate on social media, in which the authorities remind civil servants that CDM is illegal and can yield sanctions; those orders urge workers to go back to work.

Arrests – According to the Assistance Association of Political Prisoners, 384 people have been arrested since 1 February.

State media hacked – This morning, the government-run information website www.mdn.gov.mm was hacked by the ‘Brotherhood of Myanmar Hackers’; it now features pro-democracy Home page.

Tatmadaw revoke sections of the Privacy Law – Yesterday evening, the SAC revoked sections 5, 7 and 8 of the Law Protecting the Privacy and Security of Citizens. Section 5 stated that government officials have the duty to consult with township officials when conducting arrests or searches in a private premise. Section 7 stated that government officials may not detain a person for more than 24 hours without an order of an applicable court. Section 8 stated among others that without warrant, no one can enter, search, or arrest a citizen within its dwelling space; follow or conduct espionage on a citizen, thereby affecting his privacy; interfere, disrupt, or disturb a telecommunications chain of a citizen.

In the current context:

  • It is key to stay at home and work from home.
  • At night, intrusions are reported, included in some high-standards residences. Do not leave your flat, even for a walk in your compound. Make sure your compound is well-fenced; lock your residence’s accesses and your apartment’s doors. Do not go out in case of intrusion. Your flat is most probably the safest place.
  • Avoid the main protest itineraries: Insein and Pyay Road, Kaba Aye Road, Kyaikkasan Road; avoid downtown in the afternoon.
  • Explore some possible relocation places in case of emergence; keep you mobile charged and keep a power bank with you; keep some supplies within reach.
  • Top up your sim card and get additional sim cards from different operators. Get prepared to work without Internet.
  • Refrain from any public statement or any potentially-contentious comment on social media.
  • Make sure you are well registered with your embassy, that they know you, your address and your contact details.
  • You can call our 24/7 Emergency Coordination Centre (01514001; 09256266912)

EXERA is providing flash notices free of charge during this time.  They specialize in security in Myanmar and can be reached at enquiry@exera.asia

 

February 11, 2021 Update

  • International flights are still operating on reduced capacity for relief flights (this was the same as previous weeks due to Covid-19 measures)
  • For Banking, only some major branches are open. Most branches are shut due to Civil Disobedience Movement
  • Government offices are operating on reduced manpower
  • There are still peaceful protests across the whole of Myanmar.
  • Private hospitals are still open
  • Curfew of 8PM-4AM is imposed across the country
  • Major supermarkets shut at 6PM

Advice for Expats:

Stand fast, so as not to get caught in the wrong place at the wrong time (eg. where sudden clashes between civilians and military occur), as much as possible

If it is necessary to travel outside the home;

  • Spend time planning your route / journey
  • Avoid protest hot spots or any places communicated as being likely for protests at the time
  • Plan for shelter and place locations along the route / journey in case something happens
  • Beware that there are many road blocks both within cities and on their outskirts, and that personal identification might be required
  • Communicate your move to others in advance
  • Follow all rules strictly, even when they may not be followed by the local citizens

Be prepared for an emergency:

  • Plan for alternative safe havens to current location
  • Be prepared with 14 days of “stand fast supplies” in the case that some large development does occur
  • Be aware that emergency evacuation will take at least 24- 48 hours if not longer
  • Maintain a variety of communication methods- different phone providers, internet providers, etc.

Advice for Employers with Teams in Myanmar:

  • Be prepared for black out periods- unspecified periods of time where phone and email contact won’t be possible
  • Decide on regular times of the day to communicate (eg. twice daily at two decided times). Even during black out periods, there are small windows of time when messages can get through, so best to keep to regular communication times regardless of the situation.
  • Send communications to all the known communication mediums of each employee
  • Keep to the 3- 3- 30 rule. 3 messages or bullet points, 3 sentences and less than 30 words (especially during blackout periods)

Special notes for Employers:

  • Most foreign companies are taking a wait-and-see approach
  • It is still safe for foreigners, but companies should have a departure/evacuation plan in place in case the situation changes
  • Some countries have arranged diplomatic flights

Potential Escalation Events:

  • Clashes between civilian protests and the military
  • Dissolving of the NLD party
  • Confirmation of charges against Aung Sun Suu Kyi
  • Death or injury of notable NLD members

February 5, 2021 Update

  • A key aide to Aung San Suu Kyi, Win Htein was arrested on Friday. The 79 year old has been detained for long periods a number of times in the past for campaigning against the military.
  • Aung San Suu Kyi has not been seen since Monday and remains detained.
  • It is believed that more than 130 officials and lawmakers have been detained in relation to the coup.
  • At least 14 activities and other well-known pro-democracy figures have also been arrested, including the quite outspoken filmmaker Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi.
  • Telecom providers across Myanmar has been requested to block Facebook.
  • While erratic at times, phone networks and the Internet have mostly been restored.
  • Hashtags opposing the coup have been trending; in particular #HearTheVoiceofMyanmar and #RespectOurVotes.
  • A disobedience movement is gathering popularity online, asking the public to voice their opposition by banging pots and pans, honking horns, etc to show their disagreement. Some civil servants and hospital workers are refusing to work or reducing their efforts in line with movement.
  • There have so far been no large-scale protests, although small pockets of dissent have been seen
  • Heightened security threats resulting from friction between civilian protests and the military are still highly probable

We continue to recommend those who are in Myanmar to:

  • Stay at home and work from home.
  • Avoid public gatherings and retain vigilance towards COVID-19 to prevent any surge
  • Exercise caution when using social media
  • Register with your embassy to receive updates and announcements

We would also like to share a recent update video from International SOS:  https://my.internationalsos.com/MyanmarSecurityUpdate?leadsource=apacresource&utm_campaign=Asia_APAC%20COVIDWebinar_Vaccines_PostWebinar_2021Feb4&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Eloqua

February 2, 2021 Update

  • Government offices are functioning even though they’re on reduced manpower. We managed to complete visa endorsement process for a number of assignees today with no issue.
  • Banks are operational even though they are crowded with people rushing to withdraw money.
  • Major supermarkets still shut at 6PM today.
  • Streets in Yangon are quieter than usual as most office workers are working from home and some factories shut their operations temporarily.
  • Airports are still shut.
  • The military has released most of the detained officials today but we are not clearer if they are under house arrest. Replacements of most ministers have been announced.
  • There was no civil unrest today even though many are calling for civil disobedience including strike of healthcare workers from tomorrow.
  • Myanmar National Airlines has just announced they will resume all operations from 4 February.  Flights, both domestic and international, are expected to be resumed as scheduled.

February 1, 2021 Update

  • The military has taken over control of Myanmar and it seems many people in important roles in the elected democratic party (NLD = National League for Democracy) have been arrested and detained, including Aung San Suu Kyi.
  • The military has announced they are in control and have declared a 1-year state of emergency. Power is in the hands of Military Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing (the military is claiming election fraud).
  • A new interim President has been announced; U Than Swe
  • All airports both domestic and international are closed. There are rumors that airports will be closed for some time, but no official news as yet.
  • Everyone is rushing to obtain supplies.
  • Banks have been closed today and have suspended operations nationwide until further notice, as there is a concern that there will be rush on cash. Many ATMs are already out of order.
  • Only the state media is working. Most internet and mobile phone services are down. Sporadic connections have been available today so far.
  • The military are on the streets in both the capital city Nay Pyi Taw and Yangon
  • Major supermarkets chains such as City Mart shut at 6PM.
  • A curfew from 8PM until 4AM has been put into place.

 

There have not yet been any reports of panic or unrest in Yangon or in the capital city Nay Pyi Taw. However, as there is no media, it is difficult to get reports to know if there issues either local or widespread.

It is likely that heightened security will be seen across Myanmar in the coming days and heavy deployment of military to Nay Pyi Taw and Yangon is already eminent. The military has set up roadblocks in some other locations, including Mandalay. Clashes between security personnel and protesters may occur at any time and this will be fired by active requests to the public from the NLD to protest the coup. It is likely that telecommunication disruptions will be common in the coming days, including internet and phone networks in Naypyidaw and Yangon that have been down for a good part of today.

Expats in-country may not have access to or limited access to communication tools and may not readily be able to respond to attempts to reach them.

  • We recommend:
  • Stay at home and work from home.
  • Avoid public gatherings and retain vigilance towards COVID-19 to prevent any surge
  • Exercise caution when using social media
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