Lockdown Preventing Displaced Kachin From Finding Work

By Network Media Group
Friday, May 22, 2020

Kachin living in camps in Myitkyina are struggling to survive amid the coronavirus lockdown. Tan Ja, the head of St Joseph Camp-2, said the travel restrictions have been tough on residents that depend on work as day labourers.

Internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps in the Kachin State capital have been under lockdown for more than a month. Tan Ja said it wasn’t a problem at first, but after weeks passed and residents couldn’t leave the camp to work, they started running out of food. Now they’re also running out of firewood to cook their rice, he told NMG.

Ma Htu Mai, who lives in Pa La Na camp, said it’s difficult under the lockdown.

“We don’t have any income and all the businesses are shut down, so we can’t work as daily labourers.”

Camp leaders at KBC Mai Ner camp, located in Waingmaw township, are easing their lockdown restrictions. “We’re allowing IDPs to leave the camp three days a week. We reduced the restrictions a little, so they can take jobs as day labourers,” said Zau Lon, who’s in charge of the camp.

After the government extended the lockdown in most of the country until the end of May, many businesses remain closed in Myitkyina, preventing IDPs from finding day work in the Kachin State capital.

The government told the IDP camps they would provide personal protective equipment (PPE). “We haven’t got anything from the Kachin State government,” said Tan Ja. “They told us they would give us PPE, but until now we haven’t got them.”

Civil society organizations have provided some PPEs to camps in Myitkyina.