Tanai IDPs face looming food shortages, aid workers say

Tanai IDPs face looming food shortages, aid workers say

Internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Kachin State’s Tanai Township will face a shortage of rations by the end of this month, aid workers say.

To date, the IDPs have been relying on food supplies donated by a handful of political parties and well-wishers, in the aftermath of the displaced population’s flight from gold and amber mines in Tanai Township to the eponymous town to the southeast, in June.

“Every morning, we give money to buy curry,” said Naw Tawng, a spokesperson for the “rescue committee” established by churches in Tanai to aid the displaced.

“We give 40,000 kyats [$29] for 100 people. The fund is supported by the churches. Some churches can provide about 200 kyats per person. In some churches hosting a large number of IDPs, rice and pulses will be used up by the end of this month.”

Due to fighting between the Tatmadaw and the Kachin Independence Army in June — which was preceded by air-dropped leaflets warning the civilian population to leave the area — about 1,000 miners and their families who had been living at the extractive sites fled to Tanai town, seeking refuge in churches there.

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“It is very worrying in the long run. Now, the IDPs stay in the hall of the church. The Tatmadaw authorities do not like us to set up IDP camps. We cannot build shelters for the IDPs in the compounds of the churches. So, all IDPs stay in the main hall,” said Dr. Khalam Samsom, secretary of the Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC).

“We are taking measures to help them return to their homes. However, they are in fear of returning home in case the troops are still based in their villages.”

The IDPs are temporarily residing in places of worship presided over by the KBC, the Catholic Church and other Christian groups.

 

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