Conflict-affected Civilians Desperately Need Aid In Karen State

By Network Media Group
Monday, May 23, 2022

Nearly 200k people displaced by the war in Karen State since the military coup are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.

“The number of internally displaced people (IDP) is constantly increasing and it is difficult to give quantitative figures,” said Saw Nanda Hsu, spokesperson for the Karen Human Rights Group. He explained that fighting is going on in many areas of Karen State. When it stops, some of them return home, but flee again when new fighting breaks out.

Most of the more than 170,000 IDPs are in Karen National Union Brigade 5 in Mutraw District, followed by Brigade 6 in Dupalya District and finally Brigade 1 in Duthahtoo District. But there are also civilians affected by the conflict in Brigades 2, 3 and 4.

“All these IDPs are facing many difficulties because they are not receiving regular humanitarian assistance,” he said, explaining that in addition to food, they need medical care, materials to build shelters and education. Many of them are children, women, some of whom are pregnant, and elderly people.

Compounding their misery is the onset of the rainy season, which has already brought heavy rains causing flooding along the riverbanks on the Thai border, where many people who had sought shelter were forced to flee.

“They have to move to another place. They do not have enough tarpaulins and plastic sheets,” says Naw Say Say Heh, the second joint secretary of the Karen Women’s Organisation. If the fighting continues, it would be very difficult to help them further, she said.

Karen civil society organisations have appealed to Thailand to lift restrictions on international aid agencies providing cross-border humanitarian assistance to the Karen IDPs.