As Clashes Continue, IDPs in Rakhine State Face Food Shortages
‘Rakhine local social organizations have provided things to those IDPs. I don’t think they will be able to provide things for next wave of IDPs,’ a social worker said.
By NETWORK MEDIA GROUP (NMG)
Friday, December 21, 2018
More than 300 internally displaced people (IDPs) in Rakhine State’s Ponnagyun Township are in need of emergency food aid after fleeing clashes between the Arakan Army (AA) and the Burma Army, social workers said.
“They mainly need food, blankets and warm clothes. They couldn’t manage to bring anything with them when they fled from the clashes. They don’t have cooking pots. They also couldn’t bring rice, cooking oil or salt,” Ko Aung Kyaw, who works with the Poe Shwe Pyin Social Alliance in Ponnagyun, told NMG.
The IDPs—totaling 339 people from 60 families—are ethnic Mro and Khami from Phetwon Chaung, Kyaukse Taung and Maung Nema villages. They have taken refuge in Kyauk Thinpon Tan IDP camp in Ponnagyun; among them are elderly, children, and pregnant women.
Social organizations have provided rice, cooking oil, salt and other utilities to IDPs. According to Ko Aung Kyaw, if intense clashes continue, the number of IDPs will increase and it will not be possible for local organizations to meet their needs without greater support.
“It’s sure that the situation will be more difficult. Social organizations cannot provide things if more IDPs come into the IDP camp. I think there will be problem of food shortage. Currently, Rakhine local social organizations have provided things to those IDPs. I don’t think they will be able to provide things for next wave of IDPs,” he explained.
Clashes between the Burma Army and the AA have been occurring since October, with locals and the AA reporting that the government forces have used helicopter gunships to attack the AA.
The most recent clashes occurred on December 15, near Khamaukni, Maung Nema, and Kyunthayar villages. According to the AA’s information department, clashes also occurred in Rathedaung Township and have escalated in recent days.
NMG tried to contact the AA for comment but was not able to establish communication. The Burma Army has not released any report on the clashes in Rakhine State.