Mong Ko's displaced facing food shortages, arrests and conscription

Mong Ko's displaced facing food shortages, arrests and conscription

Over 700 internally displaced people from Mong Ko township in northern Shan State are facing food shortage after fleeing ongoing clashes between the military and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA).

An aid worker told DVB that groups were experiencing difficulties in transporting rice and other staples to refugee camps as the army had set up blockades and were restricting the movement of goods and people through checkpoints.

“Our group doesn’t have a separate fund to buy rice so we’ve had to ask for help from other charity organizations. The number of donors has gradually declined, so children in the camps are now only able to eat two meals a day,” he said.

Previously, the camp that the aid group had been supporting had held around 500 refugees, but recent fighting has seen numbers reach over 700. 

Those living in the camp told DVB that refugee numbers were increasing in Mong Ko as the MNDAA had intensified a push to forcibly recruit soldiers from villages in the township, whilst local people also faced violence and arrest from Burma Army soldiers leading operations in the region. Residents said that both groups were targeting children as well as adult men.

Regular flows of donations have been hit as Mong Ko’s economy suffers from the prolonged closure of trade gates on the China border and a freeze on sugar cane exports.