Chin Churches to Contribute for Kachin Refugees
18 September 2011: An urgent appeal has been launched among Chin churches and individuals across the globe to ‘lend a helping hand’ to Kachin refugees and IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) in the conflict areas of northern Burma.
A leading pastor from inside Chin State, Burma urges for an emergency contribution towards helping Kachin victims of the ongoing fighting between Burma Army soldiers and Kachin Independence Army (KIA), an armed wing of KIO (Kachin Independence Organisation).
“Our brothers, the Kachins, are still in serious condition of trouble. They are currently facing huge problems with food and medicines. Their children are out of school and there are no facilities to teach them in the camps,” said the Chin pastor, who is not named for security reasons.
There are more than 25,000 IDPs stranded in Kachin State on the border between Burma and China, according to a recent report from the Kachin aid groups.
La Rip, Coordinator for the Relief Action Network for IDPs and Refugees (RANIR), said the situation is worsening now because no one here has the capacity to support them and people are getting only a small amount of rice a day, without any nutrition.
“We are at the moment worried about their food security and shelter, with winter advancing,” added the Kachin Coordinator of 12 incorporated local community organisations from the border town of Laiza.
Mai Ja, an aid worker with the Kachin Women’s Association of Thailand, said the people are in very urgent need of medicine.
The local victims of the ongoing fighting against the ethnic Kachins by Thein Sein’s government are not recognised as refugees and provided food by Burma’s military-turned-civilian authorities.
“They [Kachin victims] need not only our earnest prayers but also our help and support in this critical time. The Kachin Baptist Convention has done anything it can but has not enough resources and capacities as needed,” pleaded the Chin pastor.
Next month, the Zomi Baptist Convention (ZBC), an umbrella body of 873 Chin churches in Chin State as well as 6 local churches based in Rangoon, is scheduled to make a trip to Kachin State, with a concerted contribution made by Christian organisations and churches in Chin State.
The Chin pastor also said Christians from different denominations in Kachin State have used their churches as temporary accommodations for refugees even in Laiza, Myitkyina and Bamaw.
Since the start of the fighting in June this year, the UN and other international agencies are not granted to get access to the area, according to the report.
Living in the temporary bamboo shelters in a ‘very poor and crowded’ condition, most of the victims are vulnerable to various infections, with seven children reported dead from diarrhoea and malaria in August, according to source.
Meanwhile, Thein Sein’s government has given a ‘green light’ to China-financed multi-million dam projects of Myitsone River at the source of the Irrawaddy, whose generated megawatt electricity will be provided for Yunnan of China.
Van Biak Thang