05 Nov Security situation prevents UN from aiding displaced villagers

Written by Nan Lwin Hnin Pwint Published in Refugees Read 9823 times
A view inside an IDP shelter in the town of Waimaw in northern Kachin State.  (Photo: Nyan Lynn/IRIN) A view inside an IDP shelter in the town of Waimaw in northern Kachin State. (Photo: Nyan Lynn/IRIN)

An uncertain security situation is preventing United Nations organisations from providing assistance to villagers displaced by the latest fighting in Kachin State, the UN said on Monday.

UN spokesperson U Aye Win said the unstable security situation had affected plans to provide aid to villagers who have sought refuge from the fighting in Mansi township.

U Aye Win said the UN wanted to send relief to villagers who have gathered at various locations in the township.

“But the security situation is not stable yet,” he said. “We haven’t started any of our relief programs due to the security [situation],” he said.

About 1600 villagers are reported to have sought refuge in the township’s Nant Lin Par village since fighting erupted between government forces and the Kachin Independence Army on October 22.

The fighting began after government troops were reported to have entered territory under the control of the Kachin Independence Organization, of which the KIA is the armed wing.

Ma Kay Thi, a resident of Bhamo, which is near Mansi township, said the displaced villagers were likely to be short of food because of the fighting.

“There are exchanges of fire and no one can pass through,” Ma Kay Thi told Mizzima.

Among the groups trying to provide food and other assistance to the villagers are the Kachin Baptist Church in Mine Khaung village, the Ga-Yu-Nar Myanmar Social Development group from Bhamo and Roman Catholic groups.

Father Khar-Li from the Bhamo Township Catholic Association said an attempt to send relief to the villagers on October 29 had been called off because of troop movements.

U Naw Dint from the Ga-Yu-Nar Myanmar Social Development group said the food supply situation for the villagers had begun to worsen on October 29.

“We tried but it’s still not possible to supply rice to the refugees,” U Naw Dint said. “Their supplies of rice are gone and that’s what makes me worry about them,” he said.

Relief groupsorganisations operating in Kachin State say about 70,000 people have been displaced since fighting flared between government forces and the KIA in June 2011.