‘No Organization Has Come to Provide Aid’ to Kyaukme IDPs

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

A series of ongoing clashes in recent days between the Burma Army and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) has displaced more than 300 people in northern Shan State.

The villagers, largely from Kyaukme Township, fled their homes abruptly after shells hit their communities, killing their cattle, damaging homes and schools, and injuring civilians.

Volunteers working with the internally displaced people (IDPs) have said that they are in urgent need of emergency aid, including winter clothing, blankets, and food.

This week, NMG spoke with spokesperson for the Ta’ang Women’s Organization Lway Chee Sangar about the current situation facing the newest IDPs.

What are the updates on those who fled their villages due to fighting?

There were strong clashes yesterday and the day before yesterday. Both sides used heavy weapons, so local people fled their village. Over 300 people have fled their homes. Shells landed in Khun Kaw, Taw Hpe, Ner Lway, and other nearby villages in Kyaukme Township. These IDPs have sought refuge in Mang Hkok village in Kyaukme Township and Pang Ning village in Namhsan Township.

How are they surviving there?

Mang Hkok village and Pang Ning village are located a bit far from the town. As of this evening, no organization has gone to provide assistance to the IDPs there. They need emergency assistance including foodstuffs and warm clothes because of the cold season. Currently, people from nearby villages have provided assistance to these IDPs. No organization from outside has come to provide assistance to these IDPs.

Can you comment on the current armed conflict in northern Shan State?

They should not attack civilian targets and or civilians… We don’t know whose shells hit the village. It’s really bad to use heavy weapons. Another thing is that the [Burma] Army uses combat helicopters to attack the area around civilian villages. They cannot distinguish whether it is a civilian village or an EAO (ethnic armed organization) post. Therefore, we condemn it. Civilians have been suffering from the clashes between the army and the EAOs… We want both sides need to take responsibility for the rehabilitation of these local people. We want them to avoid having clashes near civilian areas.

This translated interview has been lightly edited for clarity and brevity.