By LALNUNA – Chin university students and youths who recently visited camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in southern Chin State’s Paletwa Township say that villagers forced to flee fighting between the Burma Army and the insurgent Arakan Army (AA) still lack sufficient aid.
At a press conference held in Yangon on Tuesday, the students and youths discussed what they learned about the current needs of the IDPs when they went to the camps to deliver relief supplies earlier this month.
“What they need most at the moment is food assistance. They also need education and healthcare support for their children. And we are worried about their security because Burma Army and AA forces are still active in the area. Security is a real concern for them,” Salai Mang Hung, who is in charge of the Mindat Youth Group, said at the press conference.
While some aid has reached the IDPs, it is not nearly enough to meet their needs, he added. Restrictions on the transport of rice to the conflict-affected region are also adding to their hardships, he said.
“Local people use the river to buy rice in Kyauktaw [in Rakhine State], but there are now many checkpoints along the river, and there have also been clashes. Therefore, we want the [Chin] state government to provide security along the river for the transport of rice,” he said.
Soe Htet, the state’s minister of municipal affairs, electricity and industry, told Khonumthung News that the state government has negotiated with both the Union government and the Rakhine State government to buy rice for the IDPs and other residents of Paletwa Township.
“We have already told the Union government that we need at least 5,550 bags of rice per month for 127 villages in 30 village-tracts in Paletwa Township. We submitted our proposal to the Union government and sent a copy of it to the Defense Ministry, the Interior Ministry and the Rakhine State government. They have not rejected our proposal. But we still have security concerns along the river,” Soe Htet said.
Earlier this month, Chin civil society organizations and student groups began collecting donations in the towns of Mindat, Tedim, Falam, Hakha and Kalay to support Chin IDPs in Paletwa.
According to the Chin Students’ Union (Kalay), the money was distributed between July 17 and July 21 to more than 600 IDPs who have taken refuge in Meezar village and 140 IDPs in Thae Chaungwa village in Paletwa Township.
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FACEBOOK: Healthcare, education and security are also major concerns for villagers displaced by fighting in southern Chin State’s Paletwa Township.
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