Monday, May 20, 2024

Thousands Displaced by Fighting in Kyaukme Township

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Nearly 3,000 villagers are displaced after fighting restarted between the Burma Army and Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA) in Kyaukme Township, located in northern Shan State. Hostilities began on October 2 after Tatmadaw sent troops to RCSS/SSA territory.

War Victim at Kyaut Mae by KM youth
War Victim at Kyaut Mae Photo by KM youth

According to a list provided by a Kyaukme committee on internally displaced persons (IDPs), more than 700 are staying in Pong Woe Monastery, over 700 in Tawng Htig village, 102 in Ner Saung village, 100 in Nawng Kwang village, over 400 in Nam Hang Khueng village, over 400 in Kwang Hin village and nearly 200 in Kawng Lang village.

If the numbers of IDPs continue to rise, there won’t be enough food and shelter for everyone, said Sai Nay Aung, chair of Kanlint Letmyar Social Volunteer Team ( Nawng Pein ), told SHAN. “Even now, there aren’t enough toilets for everyone. So we’re making more.”

“More than 700 IDPs in Tawng Htig village are struggling for food. They called me for help but we can’t go there today because there’s fighting breaking out in the area.”

“If things continue like this, the health of IDPs may deteriorate soon,” said a woman staying at Pong Woe monastery. “We’re concerned that people will suffer from diarrhea.”

With many people staying together, civil society organizations (CSOs) helping IDPs are worried about the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19. Travel restrictions imposed by the Ministry of Health and Sports to control outbreaks is impeding aid reaching IDPs.

“There are many problems here, including (not enough) food and shelter,” said Nang Kyein, who’s helping IDPs. “At the same time, fighting is still happening and we’re afraid shells will land near us.”

RCSS/SSA Lt-Col Oum Khur said the conflict will stop when the Burma Army stops attacking them.

Fighting is preventing candidates from campaigning for Burma’s 2020 election, which is less than a month away.

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