One killed, seven IPDs injured in road accident in Sami
A Chin man was killed instantly and seven others seriously injured in a daylight road accident involving a truck and motorbike in Paletwa Township on Monday, May 16.
All of the victims are members of the Internally Displaced Persons taking shelter in makeshift camps in Sami town after fleeing their villages due to recent fighting between the Arakan Army and Burmese military.
At around 4:00 p.m, a truck carrying a group of men from Sami IDPs camp veered off the road and overturned while trying to avoid head-on collision with an oncoming motorbike. The accident took place near Pamaung Village, just five miles from Sami Town.
The driver of the truck escaped unharmed but has absconded and went into hiding in fear of arrest, according to an official with the General Administration Office in Sami Town. One man was killed on the spot and seven other pessengers received serious injuries and were transported to Matupi Town for medical treatment.
The truck was meant to carry firewood supply for occupants of the IDPs camps in Sami, who use twigs and woods gathered from nearby forests to make fire for cooking.
“Families in the camps rely on firewoods to cook food. But since they are not allowed to go wandering out in the forest to gather firewoods due to movement restrictions, they have to find an alterative way by purchasing firewoods from nearby villages,” said the official based in Sami.
Yesterday’s tragedy highlights the many predicaments of the nearly 4000 IPDs community, who are also struggling with basic survival issues such as finding enough food to eat, access to clean water and basic sanitation.
In addition to heightened fears about the possible outbreak of COVID-19, the spread of other diseases such as seasonal flu, dysentery and malaia are also of great concerns among the IDPs.
“Without a good stock of firewoods supply before the start of the rainy season, the community will be faced with serious issue as to how they will cook. The lack of firewood or any alternative source of energy for cooking is going to further complicate their survival in a big way,” said an a volunteer aid worker who visited and spoke to the community members in Sami earlier this week.