WFP Increases Assistance to Northern Shan State IDPs
‘It is still not enough, but it’s more comfortable,’ says one IDP.
By NETWORK MEDIA GROUP (NMG)
Friday, February 22, 2019
The World Food Programme (WFP) has increased the assistance it is providing to internally displaced people (IDPs) in three northern Shan State townships.
WFP provides monthly assistance for food to displaced people in Kutkai, Muse and Namkham. According to a leader in Namkham’s Panglong camp, as of January, these amounts have increased.
“Refugees between the ages of 18 and 50 got 7,500 kyat (US$4.90). Refugees under 18 and over 50 got 15,000 kyat ($9.80). Since January, refugees aged between 18 and 50, get 10,000 kyat ($6.50), and those under 18 and over 50 get 20,000 kyat ($13.05),” the deputy in charge of Panglon camp, Hpan La, told NMG.
While the shift is welcomed, Hpan La said IDPs are unsure what brought it on.
“They didn’t explain why they increased assistance. WFP officials met IDP camp authorities in Kutkai, Muse and Namkham townships in late 2018. We reported that we didn’t have enough food rations when we met WFP officials. At that time, they didn’t make any promise to increase assistance,” he said.
The displaced people in Panglong, Jor One, Jor Two, and Nay Won Ni camps have received the aid, which many say is still insufficient.
“We don’t have regular earnings from jobs around here. If we go to work far away, we need petrol for our motorbike. When we were in our village, we could work in our paddies and sugar cane fields,” Kai Luam, who lives in Panglong camp, told NMG. “We have faced economic hardships in here in the IDP camp. Even though they have increased food assistance, it is still not enough, but it’s more comfortable. I want to return home,” she said.
Win Win Swe, who lives in Nay Won Ni IDP camp, confirmed that financial assistance for purchasing rice, cooking oil, and salt has increased—she is one of the individuals who went from receiving 7,500 kyat to 10,000 kyat.
“In our camp, family heads [men] cannot get this assistance. Men who are aged between 18 and 50 do not get this assistance. They didn’t get assistance in the past. I’ve heard that men in other camps get this assistance. But women children and older people get this assistance,” she explained.
Nay Won Ni camp has 377 ethnic Ta’ang IDPs who fled from upper and lower Mang Loi and Kyu Seng villages in Kachin State in December 2012. They have been in the camp ever since.
WFP reportedly provided 6,000 kyats per person to buy rice, cooking oil, salt, and beans in July 2016, before halving their assistance in August 2018, and increasing it again in January 2019.
There are 203 people from 51 families taking refuge in camps run by the Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC) in Muse Township, and 543 people from 114 families in Panglon KBC camp in Namkham. They are ethnic Kachin, and fled from Katawt-Kawng, Yang Wu, Maw Swe, Deinga, Jam Kar villages in April 2014 following clashes between the Burma Army and Kachin Independence Army.
The WFP, Metta Foundation, and KBC have been providing assistance to refugees in Kutkai, Muse, and Namkham townships.