By SAI HSENG LENG
More than 700 internally displaced persons (IDPs) are have sought refuge in a monastery and a village in Kyaukme Township, northern Shan State, after fighting broke out between the Burma Army and Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) days ago.
According to local sources, more than 500 IDPs are staying in Tawng Htip village and 200 IDPs are staying in Pon Wow monastery. Clashes remain ongoing in the area, in Hkant Hkae village tract.
Sai Tun win, a parliamentarian for Kyaukme Township’s Constituency 1, said that the villagers fled fighting on October 4.
“We are planning to pick up more than 100 people who remain in hiding in Hkant Hkae village. We are not sure yet whether we can go and pick these people up today,” the MP told SHAN.
He said that the current centers of refuge were insufficient for the needs of hundreds of displaced people.
“There is not enough space for them in the monastery. They still have enough food at the moment, but IDPs in Tawng Htip village are struggling for food,” Sai Tun Win explained.
One IDP, who is staying in Pon Wow monastery, said that if the fighting continues, he did not know how they would secure enough food, and noted that no one was able to bring any items with them when they fled their homes.
“Armed conflict is not good for any of us. Now we have left our homes,” the man said.
The most recent clashes in Kyaukme occurred on October 6, and happened despite an extension of a Burma Army unilateral ceasefire declaration until the end of the month.