Kachin IDPs Call on Aid Providers to Repair Leaking, Broken Shelters

Monday, June 22, 2020

Internally displaced people (IDPs) in camps in territory controlled by the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) in Laiza, on the Kachin-China border, have asked aid organizations to repair their homes after sustaining damage caused by years of heavy rains and strong winds.

There are three camps around Laiza: Jai Yang, Waichai and Hpung Lon Yang, home to a total of 3,800 families. More than 8,000 IDPs are living in Jai Yang, more than 6,600 in Waichai, and more than 3,600 in Hpung Lon Yang.

“We are afraid to live here when the wind comes. We are also afraid to live here when heavy rains fall. We live near a stream. So we are afraid of we will drift into it when the rain falls,” Seng Raw, who lives in the Jai Yang IDP camp, told NMG. “We already requested that the authorities repair our shelters. They came to collect data last year. We haven’t gotten any help to repair our shelters as of today. I have children. We have to mend the holes in our roof and floor.”

The rainy season began in May in the area, creating damage to the shelters, made mostly of bamboo, and built in 2011, when they fled their homes due to renewed fighting between the KIO and Burma Army and sought refuge in the camps.

Nan Latt, who lives in Hpung Lon Yang IDP camp, said that the water leaking into her house is creating difficulties for her and her family.

“I cannot sleep at night when the rain falls,” she explained. “Rain leaks from the roof. When the rain falls, we have no place to sleep. We have to move around in the shelter when the rain falls. My kitchen is full of water when it rains. It is so difficult to live here in the camp.”

Hpaw Ran La Ja, the deputy head of Waichai IDP camp, said that they have requested that the Metta Foundation and the International Rescue Committee (IRC) repair their shelters, which are nearly 10 years old and no longer sufficient to house the growing camp population.

“We have many difficulties, including that the roofs are not good. Some people do not have their own shelters. Our shelters are built with bamboo and galvanized iron sheets. Now our shelters are getting ruined. When strong winds come, the roofs are turned up,” Sing Khan Lu, who lives in Waichai IDP camp, told NMG.