Thousands of civilians who sought refuge from fighting between the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) and Shan State Progress Party (SSPP) on Loi Huan mountain, southern Shan State, are short of food, medicine and shelter amid Burma’s third wave.
“There are 3,050 IDPs (internally displaced persons) staying at Buddhist monasteries and with their relatives in Kehsi town,” a volunteer helping them told SHAN. The IDPs are concerned about outbreaks in the densely populated camps in addition to worrying about if they will get enough to eat.
“There are outbreaks everywhere. If a person has COVID-19, many people will be infected here where it is very crowded,” an IDP told SHAN. The IDPs built bamboo huts around the monasteries after they filled up, however, they don’t have mosquito nets. The source said some have already come down with the flu but there is a shortage of medical staff to look after everyone’s needs.
“Sometimes nurses come to visit our camp but there are not enough doctors. We also need medicine.” The source explained there are only two doctors for the three monasteries in Kehsi that are sheltering nearly 2,000 villagers affected by the violence.
There are 1,333 IDPs at Nawng Suam monastery, 248 at Haw monastery, 287 sleeping at Myo Oo monastery. In the villages, there are 116 at Mai Ning, 190 at Loi Hseng, 173 at Kon Hser, 189 at Nit Mai, 460 in Nawng Wol and 53 in Wan Pan.
In Kyaukme Township, Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and SSPP fought with RCSS near Tawt San village on July 1, displacing more than 800 villagers. Although clashes have stopped, for now, the IDPs expect fighting could start again soon.
An IDP from Tawt San told SHAN they are afraid to go home because SSPP and TNLA troops are staying in the village. “We also fear the EAOs will forcibly recruit us.”
Another IDP explained there are nine people with disabilities trapped in the village. They can’t rescue them because of the heavy military presence.
Maj Mai Aik Kyaw, TNLA spokesperson, wasn’t even aware if his soldiers or SSPP troops are still staying at Tawt San. But he said, “if RCSS attacks us, then there will be more fighting in the area.”
The frequent clashes in Kyaukme Township have prevented some IDPs from returning home for six months.