The Chin State government is building 150 huts for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the town of Sami in Paletwa Township in an effort to relieve crowding amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a spokesperson said.
Yet the new shelters will house just a fraction of those displaced, according to civil society estimates of those who have fled clashes between the Burma Army and the Arakan Army (AA). The Relief and Rehabilitation Committee for Chin IDPs reported that there are 2,612 IDPs from 630 families in Sami town. In nearby Paletwa town, the same organization estimates that there are 1,986 IDPs from 437 families seeking refuge.
“They have been staying near a village stream,” Chin State government spokesperson Soe Htet told Khonumthung News. “We already built 80 huts. We are going to build another 70 huts for them. If they live in the same place, they will have problems in the long term. Therefore, we built shelters for them.”
According to local civil society groups, the IDPs in Sami have largely been staying in a monastery, in Lekkon middle school, a public hall, churches, and the homes of other civilians in the town.
Zaw Li Awng, the director of the People’s Hope Organization, said that the Chin State government, World Food Programme, and private donors were providing food to IDPs in the town.
“They currently have enough food for one month,” he told Khonumthung News. “The WFP provided 100 bags of rice, cooking oil, salt, and yellow beans. The Chin State government provided 150 shelters, as well as three to four 100-foot-long protective rain tarps.”
Zaw Li Aung said that the Weilu Kyaw Foundation had provided 1,600 sets of clothing, which are being distributed.
Fighting in the region continues, with more people likely to be displaced.