More than 50 pregnant women suffered miscarriages in Chin State’s Paletwa Township over a period of six months, a phenomenon that medical professionals and civil society representatives say is linked to the insecurity caused by ongoing armed conflict in the region.
At least 54 women were confirmed to have miscarried in the township between January and July.
During this period, an offensive by the Burma Army against the Arakan Army (AA) in southern Chin State and Rakhine State also intensified. Burma News International (BNI) reported there were at least 11 clashes between the two forces in Paletwa in the first half of 2020.
“They have had to flee to different places because of the clashes. They are also worried about themselves and their families,” Dr. Soe Thet Win, the head of Paletwa’s health department, said of the women. “Because they had to flee, they were not able to focus on eating nourishing foods,” he added.
Mai Nan Wai, the spokesperson for the Relief and Rehabilitation Committee for Chin IDPs (RRCCI), said that in areas where there were fewer clashes, pregnant women also suffered fewer miscarriages.
“The Burma Army’s jet fighters bombarded the area around Paletwa town. Shells landed near villages,” she told Khonumthung News. “We want all clashes to stop as soon as possible. […] It’s really bad for people if clashes occur near a civilian area. People are living in an area that is under threat. As a consequence, pregnant women and children, in particular, are suffering a lot,” she explained.
Fighting between the Burma Army and the AA have displaced 5,000 people in Paletwa town, more than 3,000 in the town of Sami, and 500 people in Sein Sin village.
According to Paletwa Township’s health department, there were 119 documented miscarriages in the area in 2019.