Representatives from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) met with members of the Chin State government in Hakha on Thursday to discuss the provision of humanitarian assistance for internally displaced people (IDPs) in Paletwa Township.
Enrique Ochoa Fernandez-Lomana, ICRC’s deputy resident representative in Burma, and Saw Ler Pho, who is in charge of the ICRC’s Mandalay office attended the meeting in the state capital, to follow up on a recent IDP crisis following clashes between the Burma Army and the Arakan Army (AA).
“ICRC has been providing humanitarian assistance to IDPs in Rakhine State. There are IDPs in Paletwa Township too. These IDPs fled from the clashes between the Burma Army and AA forces in Paletwa Township,” Chin State government spokesperson U Soe Htet told Khonumthung News. “They came to discuss the provision of humanitarian assistance with the Chin State government. We discussed how to cooperate for it.”
According to minister U Soe Htet, the ICRC needs recommendations from both the Chin State government and the Union government to get involved in aid in the region.
“This issue concerns the Union government as well as travel restrictions for foreigners. Therefore, we discussed that it would be better if they got a recommendation from the Union government,” he said.
According to the Chin State government, there are total of 4,136 IDPs—2,154 men and 1,982 women—from 874 families in Paletwa Township.
The state and Union governments, religious organizations, and civil society organizations have been providing assistance to IDPs in southern Chin State.
According to U Soe Htet, the Chin State government provided 200 bags of rice to displaced people in December 2018 and another 200 bags in early February this year. The Union government’s social welfare, relief and resettlement ministry has provided 57.9 million kyat (US$37,500) to Paletwa IDPs. ICRC officials discussed the possibility of providing aid to IDPs with leaders from the Chin National Front (CNF) in late March. In the meeting, the CNF suggested that the ICRC open a local office in Paletwa, anticipating further fighting between the Burma Army and the AA. This way, CNF officials said, the ICRC could provide landmine awareness and develop a safe transportation route along waterways in the region.