Internally displaced persons (IDPs) in southern Chin State’s Paletwa Township say that they are in need of COVID-19 protective equipment, including face masks.
COVID-19 infections are on the rise in Burma, with the Ministry of Health and Sports reporting 3,636 cases of the virus on Wednesday, along with 39 total deaths and 832 recoveries.
“The IDPs do not have enough face masks. We can only provide two masks per person in IDP camps, so it’s difficult to wear these all the time,” Zarni, who is helping the Paletwa IDPs, told Khonumthung News. “We have run out of face masks, so we are worried about the safety of these IDPs because they live together in the same place. I don’t think IDP camps are getting any medical assistance.”
The Relief and Rehabilitation Committee for Chin IDPs (RRCCI) said that even though they have received donations of COVID-19 protective equipment for IDPs in Paletwa, they cannot deliver it because roads to the town continue to be blocked due to ongoing armed conflict in the region.
“We planned to send these things—we already bought them. The problem is that we cannot leave Yangon,” Mai Nang Wai, who is working with RRCCI, explained, referring to supplies of masks and hand sanitizer. “Bus operations have already stopped. We have tried to rent a vehicle to transport these things but nobody wants to go outside [the area].”
Mai Nang Wai also noted that if they go to Chin State from Yangon Region, they will be required to quarantine in a state facility for at least two weeks.
The Burma Army and the Arakan Army have had frequent clashes in Paletwa Township. The fighting has led to the displacement of nearly 10,000 people in the township, including more than 5,000 IDPs who are staying in camps throughout Paletwa town.