Thousands of civilians displaced from fighting between the Myanmar Army and Arakan Army in southern Chin State don’t have enough food, medicine and educational opportunities for their children.
A total of 2,039 internally displaced persons (IDPs) from 434 residences from 11 villages in Paletwa township are trapped in this hellish limbo. They all want to go home but with fighting getting worse very few have been able to return to their villages. Most of the IDPs are sheltering in Meeza and Shin Letwa villages.
“They mainly need rice,” said Wei Tang, from Paletwa Social Volunteer group. The relief group is trying to secure enough rice to feed IDPs from May to September. “They also need money and educational materials for their children. With summer coming there will be outbreaks of diarrhea and related diseases caused by unclean water so they will need more medicine.”
The state government isn’t providing regular assistance for the camps. When high ranking officials visit the IDP camps they give donations. When they have donors, the Paletwa Social Volunteer group is trying to fill the gaps, but it’s not enough.
“IDPs don’t have means of supporting themselves,” Wei Tang said.
Instability caused by escalating fighting has made securing rice for the IDPs difficult, he said. High transportation costs also poise obstacles for the relief group.
“The situation has gotten very bad. We can’t buy rice as much as we want. They (Myanmar Army) are monitoring rice purchases. We can only transport a limited amount at a time,” Wei Tang said.
A coalition of 900 Churches, under the Chin Baptist Convention, are providing assistance for the IDPs in Paletwa township.