Over 15,000 Kachin Refugees in Urgent Need of Aid Assistance
09 July 2011: An urgent appeal has been launched by Kachin communities to help thousands of refugees fleeing the atrocious attacks by Burma Army soldiers in northern Burma.
More than 15,000 refugees are now hiding in temporary camps in KIO (Kachin Independence Organisation)-controlled areas along the China-Burma border, according to a report by the Kachin Relief Fund.
It is estimated that there are about 2,000 IDPs (internally displaced person) sheltered in churches of Bhamo and Myitkyina and about 1,500 currently hiding in the jungle.
Mr. Hkanhpa Sadan, Deputry General Secretary of KIO, said that they have no information about the western region yet and that the people are in dire need of relief assistance such as food, medicine, mosquito net, and water.
Since the armed conflict against the Kachin Army broke out on 9 June, the civilians have fled their villages to escape killings, torture, rape, landmines and forced labour by Burma Army soldiers.
Thousands are displaced to makeshift tents and jungles inside Kachin State because of China’s restriction for crossing the border and refusal to receive the people as refugees, according to the statement by the Kachin Relief Fund.
“It is raining season and the next six months is critical for the refugees,” said the report.
Outbreak of diseases has begun emerging and mostly women and children are left susceptible due to growing cases of malnutrition, according to KIO.
On 30 June, Britain-based Kachin organisations met representatives of UK’s foreign and Commonwealth Office to discuss the current situation in Kachin State and the plight of civil war refugees in a meeting organised by Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW).
The military tension between Kachin Army and Burma Army continues around Kachin and northern Shan State despite two negotiation attempts.
Van Biak Thang