By Lalnuna – Ethnic Chin people living in Chin State and Sagaing Region’s Kalay Township have come to the aid of internally displaced persons (IDPs) forced to flee from clashes between Burmese government forces and the Arakan Army (AA) in southern Chin State’s Paletwa Township.
Earlier this month, Chin civil society organizations and student groups began collecting donations to support Chin IDPs living in the villages of Meezar and Thae Chaungwa, raising a total of 40 million kyat (US$???) in the towns of Mindat, Tedim, Falam, Hakha and Kalay.
According to the Chin Students’ Union (Kalay), the money was distributed between July 17 and July 21.
“They need many things. Our assistance will be enough for two or three months. In the long term, they will have a food problem, because they can’t buy rice even if they have money,” said Salai Thawng Thawng, the vice-chairman of Chin Student’s Union (Kalay).
More than 600 IDPs who have taken refuge in Meezar received 30,000 kyat each, while those living Tha Chaungwa, which is host to 140 IDPs, each received 15,000 kyat.
“We distributed nearly 30 million kyat in cash. We also provided goods, including toilets, umbrellas, and school uniforms. About 80 percent of the money we collected was given in the form of cash, and the rest paid for goods,” Salai Thawng Thawng told Khonumthung News.
According to Salai Thawng Thawng, the need for rice is especially high, as the farmers are no longer able to grow their own. He said many of the IDPs are also suffering from mental distress due to their situation.
“They are in a really difficult situation. They are struggling for their daily survival. They don’t have land to cultivate, and they don’t have money. They depend on donations, and this is not nearly enough to pay for food, healthcare and the education of their children,” he said.
“When we discussed their needs with them, they said their greatest concern was rice. They were really worried about not having enough rice. I think they need a rehabilitation and resettlement program,” he added.
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