‘Stranded’ Chins in Kachin conflict in need of urgent help
30 January 2013: More than 100 ‘conflict-affected’ Chin Christian members being looked after by churches are in urgent need of relief assistance as the fighting continues in Kachin State, Burma.
Rev. Pa Hrang Hmung, General Secretary of the Upper Myanmar Chin Baptist Association (UMCBA) said the Chins estimated to be about 100 have been taking refuge in the church compound for months as they had fled their houses due to the ongoing conflicts.
“Another 200 Chins have just arrived in Waikha, where Rev. Joseph works as a pastor. There are many more refugees from different ethnic groups taking shelter, too,” added the Chin pastor based in Mandalay.
Last Wednesday, a building of the Emmanuel Chin Baptist Church in Waikha was destroyed after being hit by artillery shells reportedly launched from Burma Army soldiers.
Rev. Joseph, originally from Surngen of Chin State, said there were no casualties among his members as all of them had managed to move to the Kachin church nearby, according to Pastor Thawng from Mandalay.
Pastor Thawng said ‘unidentified’ three people were killed on the streets following the shelling last Tuesday.
“Our churches in Phakanh, Saingtaung and Mawshan have been taking care of members who are caught up in the fighting since September last year. And we are running out of supplies,” said Rev. Pa Hrang Hmung.
UMCBA and ZBC (Zomi Baptist Convention) made financial donations of 73 lakh kyats in November 2012, according to the Chin pastor.
Another contribution of 200,000 kyats was made from a Chin individual from Australia last Saturday.
“There were 500 members taking refuge in our churches. As the situation was getting better, about 400 returned to their places. But the remaining 100 are still stuck as the fighting is still going on in their areas,” added Rev. Pa Hrang Hmung.
The Chin pastor expressed his deep concerns saying: “Among the victims are mothers, children and youths, too, who are supposed to go to schools and study in peace.”
Reporting by Thawng Zel Thang