Storm warnings cause concern for IDP safety and accommodation in Karen State and Tanintharyi Region

The upcoming cyclone expected to hit the Rakhine State coastline in the second week of May, has raised concerns for internally displaced people (IDPs) in Karen State and Tanintharyi Region, who may face heavy rain and flooding due to inadequate shelter.

Over the last few days, the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management of the National Unity Government (NUG) and local weather agencies have issued measures aimed at preventing storm risks.

“We live in a coastal area, so the monsoons are strong. We are not often affected by storms, but we often experience heavy rains in our region. The places where IDPs live are close to the sea, so they are more worried about the risk of storms. Even if we don’t feel the effects of the storm in our area, we need to prepare well in advance for extreme conditions during the rainy season”, an individual helping the IDPs told KIC.

Furthermore Military Council’s surveillance increases the obstacles for those assisting
IDPs in their efforts to stockpile rice, the main source of food for the IDPs, ahead of the rainy season. The Military Council’s restrictions on the transportation of rice have caused problems for IDPs who are now struggling to purchase and collect sufficient amounts of rice.

A person providing aid to the IDPs in Kawkareik Township stated that numerous IDP camps in Karen State are constructed solely for the purpose of accommodating the residents during the summer season. However these camps may be vulnerable, if they are hit by floods resulting from storms or heavy rainfall during the rainy season.

“There is a lot of preparation required before the onset of the rainy season, and currently, IDP camps can only manage to perform minor maintenance. Their capacity to prepare for heavy rains and floods is quite limited. Due to this, the IDPs are expressing deep concerns about the possibility of facing such circumstances”, he told KIC.

Around 20,000 residents, including pregnant women, children, the elderly, and disabled individuals, were compelled to flee their homes in March due to the Military Council’s airstrikes and shelling in the Dooplaya District, a territory under the control of the Karen National Union’s (KNU) 6th Brigade.

KNU has announced that these IDPs will encounter significant requirements for accommodation, food, and medicine when the rainy season arrives, as they are presently unable to return to their homes.

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