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Already displaced by conflict between rebels and the Burmese army, more than 150 Arakanese villagers are now facing a water shortage as the hot season bears down on the impoverished and conflict-ridden state.
The IDPs are taking shelter in Ywarmapyin, in the Arakan State capital city of Kyauktaw , due to fierce fighting between the Arakan Army and the Burmese military. But as temperatures soar, water supplies are fast running out.
Zagara, a local monk that runs an IDP charity, said the situation could worsen throughout March.
“At the moment, there is a water shortage at one of the IDP camps near the village of Ywarmapyin – causing people to take lengthy trips to fetch water elsewhere,” said Zagara.
Local aid workers are collecting donations to construct a safe drinking water catchment near the camp as health concerns for the displaced children increase.
“We have to be very careful with children as the temperature is changing abruptly. As of now, there is no official plan for these children in regards to either their health or education. These people need assistance,” said Zagara.
Than Soe, a Department for Rural Development official in Kyauktaw, said authorities are acting to address the shortage.
“We undertook field trips in the affected areas and we are now working to provide assistance in certain, top-priority areas,” Than Soe said.
“We are also working to build a pond at the IDP camp. We have provided phone numbers online for each township, so that people can call when they need help,” he said.
According to local relief workers, 343 Arakanese IDPs are seeking refuge in Ywarmapyin.
Hundreds of villages nationwide are also facing shortages as El Niño hits the peak of its cycle.