Over 30,000 Villagers Face Humanitarian Crisis in Shan State
10 August 2011: An estimated 31,700 people from nine townships in Shan State are in a dire humanitarian crisis following recent intensified attacks by Burma Army soldiers.
The number of locals fleeing the atrocities after Burma’s authorities deployed more than 4,000 soldiers from 42 battalions last month to take over the headquarters of the Shan State Army North (SSA-N) have dramatically increased, a report said.
A joint statement by the Shan Women’s Action Network and the Shan Human Rights Foundation said the villagers, especially in hiding, are facing acute shortages of food, drinking water, shelter and medicine.
At least 24 displaced villagers, mainly children and elderly, have died of diarrhea and malaria in the area of Wan Hai, Ke See Township alone, according to the statement today.
The international aid agencies based inside Burma are being denied access to the conflict areas.
Nang Hseng Moon, Coordinator of the Shan Women’s Action Network sadi: “With the regime keeping tight control on all aid in Burma, cross-border aid is the only way to reach war-affected populations. We urge international donors to respond to this humanitarian crisis before further lives are lost.”
Shan community groups are also calling on the international organisations for cross-border aid assistance through local relief teams.
The Burma Army began its offensive on 13 March, breaking its 22-year-long ceasefire with the SSA-N.
Some villagers have fled towards Wa-controlled areas along the China and Thai borders while others are hiding in the jungle near their villages.
Within this week, more than 40 trucks full of Burma Army soldiers are said to have arrived in the areas from Lashio and Hsipaw despite their recent withdrawal from the Wan Hai region late last month.
Van Biak Thang