Monday, May 20, 2024

IDPs Struggle With COVID-19 Amid Ration Shortage In Northern Shan State

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About half the population of Mang Hkar internally displaced persons (Mang Hkar ) in northern Shan State has COVID-19. Of the 200 villagers displaced by fighting between rival ethnic armed groups in Kyaukme Township, 124 have tested positive. They also lack food, medicine and most other essentials they need.

IDPs at Mang Hkar village
IDPs at Mang Hkar village

“We arrived at the camp over a month ago. Most of us are women and children and there’s little rice and dried food left and we cannot go back to our homes,” said Nang Kein Nguen. She said all the women need feminine hygiene items.

The residents with COVID-19 have been isolated, but they’ll soon return to the IDP camp where there’s not enough food for everyone, according to Nang Kein Nguen. In the camp, one woman is pregnant, another is 101-years-old and there’s a man who’s paralysed. All have fled the villages Pan Hong and Loi Kong in Kyaukme Township.

Other conflict- affected people in Mong Ting, Mong Yu Lay and Hokho IDP camps in Kyaukme Township and in Mong Yu Lay and Hokho camps in Kutkai Township also lack the basic things they need to survive.

In Kyaukme Township, fighting between Restoration Council of Shan State and the combined forces of the Shan State Progress Party and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) has forced 2,400 people to seek refuge in camps, while 1,700 have taken shelter with relatives in Kyaukme town.

In Kutkai Township, an IDP at Mong Yu Lay said that no one has brought food to the camp since March. ”Because of the COVID-19 restrictions, we’re not allowed to work.”

A volunteer told SHAN that everyone in Hokho faces the same dilemma. ”The IDPs can’t find work, so they don’t have enough to eat. They also need medicine, but they only have paracetamol,” she said.

According to the volunteers, there are 420 people in Mong Yu and 130 in Hokho. All fled when fighting broke out between the Burma Army and Kachin Independence Army and TNLA, which are part of the Northern Alliance.

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