The Myaing Gyi Ngu shelter for displaced families is in urgent need of roof repairs before the monsoon season fully kicks in, officials said.
The Karen State temporary shelter began housing thousands of people last September when fighting erupted between a splinter faction of the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA), the Tatmadaw and a border militia. Donations to the camp have been dwindling since the start of this year, with the food stocks fully depleted of everything except rice by April. The 5,000 families still living there are desperate for alternative sources of food and supplies. But now even the physical shelter may let them down.
“The buildings need to be repaired since we are in the rainy season. Nobody can live here if they are not repaired,” said Saw Paing, an officer from the camp.
He added that the families at the shelter want the state government to assist with the repairs, but so far, no official help has been forthcoming.
“We need food rations as well as buildings to stay in. Monks have bought us some leaves, but it’s not enough [to fix the roofs],” he said.
Displaced families say they fear returning home to their villages which have been riddled with landmines. But each day out of the past eight months that they’ve remained at Myaing Gyi Ngu, living there gets harder.
“I have no one to depend on. I have small children so I can’t go out and search for wood and bamboo. When I was living in our village, I bought earrings for my children. Now I have sold them for food and medicine. Of course if I buy the bamboos and leaves to repair the roof of my hut I will have nothing to eat except rice and salt when my money runs out,” said Naw Lah, a resident of Mae Tha Wor Village who is staying at Myaing Gyi Ngu.
Translated by Thida Linn
Edited by Laignee Barron