Sothe refugee camp is home to displaced residents of Karenni State that were forced to flee their homes due to the military’s occupation in the state.
Eight villages containing 1,661 refugees – including Daw Ta Htaw, Htarlall, Daw Si Khu villages of Hpruso township – live in Sothe refugee camp.
The camp has 162 children under five years old and a total of 187 elders over 60 years old. Some of the elders are blind and deaf and have had chronic health issues.
A majority of the refugees have been rendered homeless as the Burma Army torched their homes in the villages they used to reside in.
They were forced to leave behind their homes and livestock due to the arson attacks and flee to forests and mountains. The displaced residents are reportedly having difficulties surviving.
“We store rain to use as drinking water but it is not enough. There are also transportation difficulties. Lives have been lost due to medicine shortages. We are in need of walkie-talkies as we lack ways to effectively communicate,” Po Yel, who is in charge of the refugee camp, told DVB.
“Some houses have decayed due to storms. Although they asked us for help, we don’t have anything to give.”
Four of the refugees in the camp lost their lives due to poor weather and the scarcity of food, shelter, medicine and other supplies.
Amidst the difficulties, camp authorities have provided education for children at the camp by hosting classes in a small area within the camp.
The refugees are farming near the camp to ensure there is an ample supply of food for residents.
However, they do not have animals and agricultural machinery, instead relying on physical labor to farm.
Sothe refugee camp, which mainly relies on rainwater, will face a scarcity of water in the winter and the spokesperson of the camp urged the public to donate drinking water, telecommunication devices, and medicine to the camp.
As the junta continues to launch attacks in Karenni State, the prospect of being able to return home remains slim.
According to data collected before May 31, 2022 by the Institute for Strategy and Policy Myanmar, the number of people fleeing clashes in Burma is the second highest in Karenni (Kayah) State, after Sagaing Region. According to ISP-Myanmar, more than 51 percent of the population in the Karenni State are displaced.