Thai Govt Blocks Aid to Villagers Displaced By Conflict in Karen State

By Network Media Group
Monday, April 5, 2021

Over 20,000 ethnic Karen displaced by conflict and Burma Army airstrikes desperately need support, according to Karen Peace Support Network (KPSN). “They don’t have any food. We are trying to find a way to help them,” Naw Wah Khu Shee, KPSN spokesperson, told NMG.

Saw Bwe Doh, from Karen Refugee Committee, said when the airstrikes happened last week they fled into the night with only the clothes on their back. They’re hungry and have no materials to make shelters, he said.

It’s difficult to determine how many people were uprooted by Burma Army airstrikes, Saw Bwe Doh told NMG.

The Karen who fled from Ta Kaw Toh Baw, Day Bu Noh, Thadah Deh, Thay Mu Deh are hiding in the jungle far from the Salween River, he said. While villagers from Mae Nuhta, Thee Kaw Hta, Ei Tu Hta, Owaykalo are sleeping near the river on the Burma side after the Thai army sent them back.

Naw Wah Khu Shee said Thai authorities pretended to assist the 2,188 Karen civilians that crossed the river to Thailand. “They took photos of the displaced villagers to appear like they were helping them, but in reality, soon after this they deported everyone.” They told Thai media they prepared shelters for them on the border, but they wouldn’t even allow aid groups in Thailand to give them food and supplies before they forced them to leave.

“They desperately need shelter. Because the Burma Army is launching airstrikes in Karen State we want Thai authorities to provide temporary shelters for the IDPs (internally displaced persons). We also want the Thai government to give them emergency food and humanitarian assistance while temporarily residing in Thailand,” she said. After this, they can request assistance from the UN and other international agencies. Most are children, elderly and women, and some are pregnant, while others are ill.

Burma Army launched multiple airstrikes after KNU Brigade 5 captured its camp in Karen State. During the series of attacks, there were 19 people killed and at least 27 injured, according to KPSN. Additionally, many buildings were destroyed, including the Daw Goo Hta High School in Ler Htoo Poe.