Govt Needs To Help IDPs Struggling During Pandemic

By Network Media Group
Friday, July 17, 2020

A human rights group says the government needs to help internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Karen and Mon states struggling to survive amid lingering travel restrictions during a partially lifted lockdown imposed in April to prevent the spread of infection during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM) report ‘Left Behind and Destitute’ on July 15 states the severity of the situation for IDPs living in remote locations controlled by ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) requires immediate emergency food support.

Nai Aw Mon, HURFOM program director, says the government must not forget about them. ”The impact of the pandemic has had a wide range of negative consequences for so many people,” he says. The report found many living in areas under control of EAOs, whose livelihoods were completely wiped out by the pandemic or the lockdown that followed, didn’t receive any emergency support from the government, leaving them without any food. To remedy this, the report recommended that the government support the efforts of civil society organizations (CSOs) already assisting internally displaced persons.

Nai San Oo, from Ye Town, told NMG they couldn’t work for months because of travel restrictions. “Even though some restrictions have been lifted, it is now the rainy season. We couldn’t work in the summer time to save food for the rainy season.”

Since April, IDPs were prevented from collecting wild vegetables from the jungle by the New Mon State Party (NMSP), Karen National Union (KNU) and the government.

The report compiled data based on interviews with IDPs, village leaders, CSOs, political parties, activists and volunteers in Mawlamyine, Kyaikmayaw, Mudon, Thanphyu Zayap, Ye townships in Mon State and Kyar Inseik Gyi township in Karen State.