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NOT FREE OR SAFE: TALKS BRING REDUCED FIGHTING AND MORE AID, BUT THOUSANDS REMAIN DISPLACED

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Hka Hkye

Population: 341 people from 86 families, from six villages

People began arriving: Mid-2012.  People from Hka Hkye Village fled on 16 November 2011 after repeated Burma Army harassment.  According to one villager, “If we are in Hka Hkye [Village], they must come and oppress us.  This is why we decided to leave for a safe place after harvest on 16 November 2011.  We hid around the small river and overheard gun shooting.  Most of the bullets were firing close to us.”  On 24 November 2011, villagers fled across the border to China but the Chinese authorities forced them back, so the IDPs set up this IDP camp in cooperation with the KIO.

Support: Karuna Myanmar Social Services (Karuna) and Wunpawng Ninghtoi (WPN) provide support for the camp.

Health: Karuna provides basic medical assistance in the camp.  Many people suffer from diarrhea.  Seriously injured people are sent to Loije for care.

Education: School for K-5 is provided.  Older children must go to Mai Ja Yang for further education.  WPN is responsible for the school.

Prospects for returning home: Hka Hkye IDP Camp is right next to the Chinese border and only a few kilometers from Hka Hkye Village, but is far enough away from the Burma Army that they are not bothered there.  Villagers feel they cannot return home while the Burma Army is still there.

image013Mules move relief supplies to help IDPs

Nam Lim Pa

Population: The camp has 894 people from 11 villages in the hills surrounding Nam Lim Pa.

People began arriving: 22 January 2013, but people have been displaced since 9 July 2011.  Fighting started 9 July 2011 in this area and villagers ran then.  In some of the villages there was fighting, in others the fighting was close to the village.  First the IDPs hid in the jungle, and through 2011 and 2012 the KIO sent support to the hiding areas.  On 22 January 2013 this camp was opened near Nam Lim Pa Village and the IDPs were moved here so that services such as schools and clinics could be provided to them.

Support: The camp is primarily supported by Karuna.  United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and World Food Program (WFP) visited on 17 July 2012 and distributed tarps, family kits and medicine.  The international awareness resulting from the UNHCR/WFP visit is an additional reason why the KIO felt it was safe to bring the IDPs together in a camp; the Burma Army is less likely to attack given this international exposure.

Health: The KIO supports a clinic in the camp.

Education: The first people to be moved to Nam Lim Pa were students in 2012, so they could attend school.  However, the very young children remained with their families.  This year they will open a K-2 school in the camp, so young children can attend school and stay with their families.  Grades 3-8 attend school with Nam Lim Pa village children and board at the school.  There are 28 teachers. Mai Awng, one of the teachers at the school, was teaching five children in her home on 20 July 2011 at 8:45am when a Burma Army mortar round hit the house.  One child was killed and others were wounded.  She also was injured by shrapnel, and the wounds are still visible on her back nearly two years later.  She continues to teach IDP children.

Needs: Security.

Prospects for returning home:  The camp leader said they are waiting to hear more about the negotiated agreement and what it means.  “If we have safety and freedom in our land we can go back, but now we are not free or safe,” he said.

image015Kachin teacher wounded in Burma Army mortar attack that killed one of her students

La Na Zup Ja

Population: 2623 people from 63 villages, 40 of which had fighting inside the village

People began arriving: 30 November 2011.  One person now living in La Na Zup Ja IDP Camp, Tsumhka Gam Bu, age 73, from Hinbuk Hka Pra Village, reported that his daughter, Tsumhka Roi Tawng, 32, had been shot dead by Burma Army soldiers from LID 99 on 4 December 2011.  She had given birth 19 days earlier, and was hiding in bushes when the soldiers attacked the village.  Another woman from the same village, Lashi Labya Tawng Mai, age 25, was raped and killed by Burma Army soldiers, and her body was found, undressed, in the bushes.  Her mother, a widow, was shot in the buttock and was treated in a hospital in Bhamo Township. These incidents were previously reported by FBR in January 2012.

The most recent villagers to arrive came on 23 May 2013: six families from Manje Village.

Support: Karuna and WPN provide food for IDPs, and private Kachin and Chinese individuals have also contributed funds.

Health: There is one hospital for the IDPs, and also four private clinics nearby.  WPN provides medicine for the hospital, though it is not always enough.  There are no severe health issues at present.

Education: There is a school for IDP children up to eighth grade; if parents wish to continue their children’s education they need to send them to Mai Ja Yang for high school.  The school has 41 teachers.

Needs: One current problem is that the IDPs have no source of income, so many are unable to send their children to school beyond what is offered in the camp.  Some of the IDPs are able to find day labor jobs working in the fields of farmers living in the area.  There is also a shortage of clothing and blankets, as well as a water shortage because the nearby river is polluted.

image017Good Life Club at La Na Zup Ja IDP site

Bum Tsit Pa

Population: 832 people from 26 villages

People began arriving: 7 November 2011.  There has not been a significant change in numbers since that time; and no new IDPs have arrived for six months.

Support:  Karuna and WPN take primary responsibility for providing for the IDPs.  A group of Chinese Buddhist monks came once to deliver 30 sacks of rice, and the UN came in March 2012 and provided two months’ worth of food and family supplies such as buckets and tarps.  If charities cannot provide needed support, the KIO makes up the difference.  Currently the IDPs have sufficient food.

image019Karen and Arakan medics treat Kachin IDPs in Bum Tsit Pa Camp

Health: There is one clinic specifically for the IDPs and another clinic for the local village, both primarily supported by the KIO.  There are no critical health issues at present.

Education: Children can get education up through fifth grade in the camp.  Children above that level can attend school at La Na Zup Ja IDP Camp or cities such as Mai Ja Yang or Namkham.

Needs: According to the camp director, there are no critical material needs.  He commented that the IDPs are worried about when they can go back to begin working again, and also worried about what will be left of their homes.

image021Junior Ranger program for young IDPs

Lagat Yang

Population: 465 people from 109 families, from 15 different villages.

People began arriving: 12 April 2013.  However, these people ran from attacks in 2011 and stayed in rice fields or with relatives until this camp opened.  One of the camp leaders ran from his home of La Ka Taw Village on 6 November 2011.  The Burma Army began attacks near his village on that day at about 10am.  This village is on the Bhamo Road and it is not safe for them to go home because the Burma Army uses the road.

Support:  The camp is supported primarily by Karuna and WPN, with additional support from Solidarités, a French organization.

Health: There is a basic clinic in the camp.

Education: There is a K-4 school with 80 students.  There are 5 teachers for nursery and 6 for primary. Prospects for returning home:  They cannot say when they can go home.  Someone stepped on a landmine near Na Lon and Nam Hkai Villages near their homes.  (This was the 5 June landmine incident reported above.)  They are afraid to go back.

image023Ranger pulls teeth at IDP Camp

UN aid convoy arrives

A 10-truck convoy from the UN arrived to Mai Ja Yang to bring relief supplies on 14 June 2013, made possible by negotiations between the Government of Burma and the KIO.  The convoy brought one month’s worth of relief supplies to Pa Kahtawng IDP Camp, temporary home of 3,320 people.  WPN and other Kachin organizations are taking care of the needs of IDPs year-round and it is not clear if there will be any other further UN shipments beyond this one-month supply to this one camp.  While there have been positive developments such as this aid convoy, reduced fighting and continued talks between the Government and KIO, more than 100,000 people in at least 47 sites remain displaced after two years of war, uncertain when they can return home and rebuild their lives.

image025UN trucks after delivering aid to IDPs

God bless you,

Kachin Free Burma Rangers

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