70,000 Kachin refugees in desperate need

Humanitarian groups say displaced refugees living in temporary camps in Kachin State are in desperate need for better shelter as the monsoon season nears. Fighting between the Burma Army and the Kachin Independent Army continues forcing more villagers into camps and increasing demands on the limited resources available.

Moon Nay Li, a coordinator with the Kachin Women’s Association explained that more temporary huts are urgently needed for the refugees as the monsoon rains started.

“Refugees share food with each other even though they don’t have enough food. But now they desperately temporary huts as the rains have started. The old temporary huts have started to collapse – strong winds have destroyed others.”

The numbers of refugees fleeing from the conflict between the Burma Army and the Kachin Independent Army has increased to as many as 70,000 along the Burma-China border.

Moon Nay Li said.
“Refugee numbers have reached 70,000 in the camps, but there are still displaced people hiding in the jungles. They could not reach the camps as they are caught in the middle of the shooting. Those displaced people don’t get any assistance as it is difficult to reach them in the jungle”.

Local charity groups and international organizations have supplied basic support to refugees – food, clothes and some medicine, but refugee say it is not enough.

UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon who recently visited Burma told reporters in Rangoon that humanitarian aid for the refugees has to continue.

The Kachin Independence Organization had an unsigned ceasefire arrangement with the government since 1994 until fighting broke out in June 2011.

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