The conflict between warring Shan ethnic armed organisations (EAOs) in southern Shan State has displaced almost a thousand civilians in Mong Kung Township.
A volunteer helping them told SHAN they urgently need assistance. It is the middle of the rainy season, and they don’t have enough food, medicine, blankets, mosquito nets, and materials to make shelters.
“We received some funds for the IDPs (internally displaced persons), but not enough,” he said. The money was sent through an online company that charged a seven percent commission. Because of the outbreak and the fact that it is raining every day, it has been difficult collecting the funds. For the same reasons, sending shelter materials to the camps poses challenges.
Most of the IDPs arrived from Mong Khun village-tract the second week of July. They are staying at Buddhist monasteries in Tatmauk, Namlay, Wam Htee, Salon Khon and Ho Lon villages, located in Laikha Township. Others have moved in with their relatives.
Over 200 who were fed up with sleeping in the back of a lorry have returned to their village. Without adequate shelter, “it’s really difficult for them to live here,” the volunteer pointed out. He said their village is far away from Loi Hon mountain, where there was fighting between Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) and Shan State Progress Party (SSPP) until a few days ago.
The guns are quiet for now. Still, most of the IDPs do not plan to return home anytime soon. They know that as long as the EAOs are standing off, the conflict can restart anytime.
Another worry on everyone’s mind is that an outbreak will start in the overcrowded camps without doctors, nurses or medicine. Already several people have tested positive in Mong Kung Township.
“We have face masks and soap, but we need a health professional who can teach COVID-19 awareness in the camps,” the volunteer explained.
Over 200 IDPs who returned to their homes in Kehsi Township earlier this month fled on July 17 after hearing gunfire another volunteer told SHAN.
SSPP ordered 700 IDPs staying in Nawng Suam to return to homes in Kehsi Township when the clashes stopped. A member of an IDP committee told SHAN the villagers are concerned about stepping on landmines planted by the EAOs that have been fighting each other on Loi Hon mountain for over a month. Already, the violence killed two civilians and displaced thousands of villagers.