Almost half of the civilians living as internally displaced persons (IDPs) in a camp in Kyaukme Township after fleeing violence between rival ethnic armed organisations in northern Shan State have tested positive for COVID-19.
There are 260 IDPs living in Marn Hkar camp and over 100 of them were found to have the disease after being tested by health workers.
The sick civilians who are originally from Pang Hong and Loi Kong are isolated in a school not far from the camp, Loung Liang Han, chairperson of Shan Literature and Culture Association for the township, informed SHAN.
“In the IDP camp, many people live close to each other and that’s why so many have COVID-19,” a volunteer who’s helping them told SHAN.
Additionally, there are 24 transmissions in Nam Sawt IDP camp located in Mong Ting village tract.
Many villagers believe most of the current cases in Kyaukme Township are occurring in the IDP camps, but as many infections haven’t been tested, it’s difficult to assert how many people outside the camps are affected by the pathogen.
As of 12 September, there have been 1,113 confirmed cases in Kyaukme Township, of which 746 people have fully recovered, while 62 have died.
The clashes between Restoration Council of Shan State and the combined forces, Shan State Progress Party and Ta’ang National Liberation Army, which have escalated since July and displaced thousands of people, have now led to this latest health crisis.