Kachin IDPs Worry Flooding From Stream Will Destroy Homes

By Network Media Group
Saturday, June 27, 2020

Kachin people living in camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Kachin State, near the border with China, are concerned about flooding after heavy rainfall in June.

IDPs in Paka Htawng, near Mai Ja Yang, the second largest city controlled by the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), fear their homes will collapse if the Nam Mao stream, which flows through the middle of the camp, keeps overflowing.

Residents say flooding from the stream, whose banks have become eroded over time, caused two outdoor lavatories to collapse last Wednesday (June 24) and damaged their farms.

“Our houses aren’t strong enough. The pillars and the walls are decayed and our roofs are leaking,” says Lahpai Kawt Nan. She worries heavy rainfall will eventually cause her home to collapse.

The Nam Mao stream forms the border between Burma and China. Every year during the rainy season it causes flooding in the camp. Last year, residents say their shops, vegetable farms and livestock were affected by flooding.

Lahpai Kawt Nan told NMG they’ve requested help. But no-one has come to the camp to repair their homes.

Brang Seng, who is the secretary of the IDP camp committee, says they’ve reported the problem several times to the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) Refugee Committee and some civil society organizations working in the camp but still waiting for an answer.

Paka Htawng was established in 2012 by Kachin villagers fleeing fighting between KIO’s military arm, Kachin Independence Army, and Burma Army.

Over 2,000 IDPs (593 families) live in the camp. They come from Bhamo, Moemauk and Mansi townships in Kachin State and Namkham and Mongkoe townships in northern Shan State.