Naw Nang Thazin, a health care provider looking after IDPs told Karen News that building shelter is critical as the wet season has placed many of the displaced villagers at risk.
“There are 4,000 refugees and as they are not settled in one place like before it has made it difficult to arrange shelters for them. A local Abbot has provided and found temporary shelter in neighborhood homes for them.”
Naw Nang Thazin explained the displaced people have lost their security and now live in uncertainty.
“Their problem is they don’t know how long they have to wait for peace and stability in the area to rebuild or if they can return to their old homes. There are plans to set up huts for them in their backyards, but to build a hut we have to buy bamboo, it cost around 200,000 kyats a household – we don’t have enough donors yet. ”
Naw Nang Thazin pointed out that despite getting food and other help from some donors it is not enough.
Since March 2021, the Burma Army has been launching offensives in the Karen National Union’s Brigade 5 area . Airstrikes ordered by the military coup leaders State Administration Council and the Burma Army ground attacks against the Karen National Liberation Army have targeted Karen villages.
The attacks have displaced more than 4,000 local villagers from the Mutraw (Papun) district who are now taking refuge at Myaing Gyi Ngu in Hlaingbwe Township, Karen State.
Aid workers helping the displaced community said villagers from Mae Wai, Kyauk Taung, Peryagone, Ka Tai Ti, Po Baw Kho, Kyauk Pha, Ta Khaw Hta, Thaw Leh Hta, Hat Gyi, Htee Law Thi Hta, Mae Myweh Hta, Baw Kyoe Hta, Lay Poe Hta, Mizai Upstream and Tagondaing made up of more than 4,000 villagers from 90 villages who arrived in Myaing Gyi Ngu since April 2.
Aid workers told Karen News data they had collected showed that among the 4,000 IDPs who arrived in Myaing Gyi Ngu, there were 980 households, 53 pregnant women, 48 children under one year of age and 954 children over 5 years of age. Some of the villagers had been wounded by the airstrikes.
Naw Eh Mu Nar Paw, who was injured in the airstrike, described to Karen News the terror she experienced.
“My sister and I were injured in the bombing. We had to spend two nights in caves and our wounds started to smell bad and were infected. To get here took us three days walking on the road. We worried as we could not treat our wounds. When we arrived, we received treatment and it’s getting better. We have no choice, we have to stay at other people’s houses, it is difficult for us and our neighbors – our whole village fled.”
Burma Army is still firing heavy artillery shells into villages in the KNU’s 5th Brigade area. Fighting between the Burma Army’s sponsored Border Guard Force (BGF) and the KNU’s 5th Brigade also continues. Villagers have said they are facing food shortages now because the fighting has closed the Papun-Kamaung road.
This is not the first time Myaing Gyi Ngu had to care for refugees who fled fighting, in 2016, fighting between the BGF and Democatic Karen Buddhist Army soldiers forced more than 8,000 villagers to take refuge in Myaing Gyi Ngu, – 3,000 have yet to return to their homes.