KHCC To Resettle Hundreds Of IDPs In Putao
By Network Media Group
Friday, June 12, 2020
A Kachin group working with the government to assist internally displaced persons (IDPs) announced plans to resettle nearly 400 people who have been living in camps after being displaced by fighting in Burma’s most northeastern state.
The Kachin Humanitarian Concern Committee (KHCC) informed NMG that 370 IDPs from 77 families will be resettled to a new location in Putao District, in northern Kachin State, as it’s not possible to return them to their original village.
KHCC chair Dr Hkalam Samson says they are in talks with the government to buy land for IDPs currently living in Lung Tsawt IDP camp, located in Putao Township. “They (IDPs) are afraid of returning to their village and they asked for help to be resettled. We will start the project after we buy land plots.”
Hkalam Samson says the KHCC and Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC) asked Kachin State Chief Minister Khat Aung on February 6 for available land to resettle them, as it was difficult for families to survive in the camp and unsafe for them to return home.
“We selected plots of land near Zetan village, between Putao and Machanbaw towns. Land management officials measured the plots yesterday. I think construction will take at least three months,” Hkalam Samson says.
KHCC will provide some financial support to families for two to three years.
Residents of Lung Tsawt are from Ma Pyone, N’hka Gar, N’hpyi Ga, Hpakan and Ning Tan Gawng villages in Machanbaw, Putao and Hkawnlanphu townships.
Even though the fighting has stopped, the Tatmadaw has troops in the area.
“Some want to return to their villages, but they don’t dare because there’s still Burma Army camps there,” says Hpung Htin, head of Lung Tsawt. He says it’s hard to find available land.
“Where they will resettle is 10 miles from the nearest town. It’s not really a convenient location for us. And I think it’s going to be a struggle to survive there,” Hpung Htin says, explaining the soil isn’t fertile and “not a good place for agriculture.” He wants donors to help with food and housing.
Chan Hser says: “For years, they told us about this resettlement program and I still don’t know if it’s really going to happen. If they resettle us near a village, we’re worried if we will be on good terms with the other residents.”
Lung Tsawt was established in 2013 for civilians who were fleeing fighting between the Burma Army and Kachin Independence Army. In 2015, villagers displaced by new clashes moved to the camp.