Thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) at the Myine Gyi Ngu camp in Karen State are living with increased food shortages since clashes broke out in recent days between a splinter faction of the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) and the local Border Guard Force (BGF) in Hlaing Bwe Township backed by Burmese government troops.
“We have only rice for survival,” said Saw Swe Tun, the camp administrator. “We have reported details of our hardship to the subordinates of [prominent local spiritual leader] Myine Gyi Ngu Sayadaw. We received some supplies from local government departments and organisations, but fewer and fewer in recent days.
“To meet basic needs, some IDPs earn money building roads and stupas, but we need long-term solutions.”
The local administrator of Hlaing Bwe Township could not be reached for comment.
Myine Gyi Ngu camp currently shelters some 5,500 Karen villagers, most of whom arrived in August 2016 when hostilities erupted in their hometown of Mae Tha Wor. The IDPs have cited the remaining presence of landmines for not wanting to return home in the meantime.
Saw Swe Tun, an administrator at a nearby IDP camp, said that hostilities have recently intensified between the renegade faction of the DKBA and combined forces of BGF and Burmese army.
A fourth armed group, a DKBA battalion led by Col. Bo Pi, has also been involved in recent skirmishes. Most clashes have taken place near the Yin Mine Bridge en route to Mae Tha Wor.