As many as 4,000 Kachin refugees who are taking refuge in the remote area of Mai Jar Yan area on the Sino-Burma border are now facing severe food shortage problems. The area is under the the control of the Kachin Independent Army 3rd Brigade, but is under heavy attack from the government’s airforce and army.
Moon Nay Li, coordinator of the Kachin Women Association Thailand told Karen News that in remote areas of Mai Jar Yan, Kachin refugees are facing starvation and many are suffering from stomach problems. Due to transportation difficulties, local or international humanitarian groups have not been able to access the area and get relief to the displaced people.
Speaking to Karen News, Moon Nay Li said.
“Children are very hungry. They can only have one small meal for the whole day – the children are starving. Our health workers told us that when they are giving out medicine, the people are asking for ‘medicine that heals hunger’.”
According to local sources, as many as 4,000 refugees around Mai Jar Yan have food shortage problems, almost half of the population is children. The refugees have been given some rice from the World Food Program, but local sources claim that the rice provided to the refugees is too rough and course and many small children are having stomach problems from eating the rice.
Moon Nay Li said that the increase in hostilities in Kukkhaing Township, Northern Shan State in territory of the KIA 4th Brigade, has meant many more Kachin refugees in the Kukkhaing Town and surrounding areas.
“Refugees numbers are now increasing. The food assistance provided by World Food is not enough. As it is the cold season, the temporary shelters are not good enough to keep people warm. There are not enough blankets and clothes, the situation is just getting worse.”
KWAT are now trying to provide health care assistance to the refugee population and trying to get humanitarian organizations to provide assistance to the refugees.
The Kachin political and armed organisations had a ceasefire arrangement with the previous military regime for 17 years. The KIA and Burmese military government agreed to a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The KIA claim the ceasefire was broken by U Thein Sein’s government and fighting broke out in June 2011 between the Kachin Independent Army and the Burma Army.
Human Rights Watch have reported that there are as many as 70,000 Kachin refugees in Kachin State, Shan State and along the China border.