Banking Restrictions Cause Food Shortages For IDPs in Kachin State

By Network Media Group
Friday, July 9, 2021

Civilians living in internationally displaced persons (IDPs) camps located in areas of Kachin State controlled by the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) haven’t received food rations for over two months.

An IDP from Jay Yang camp told NMG that Karuna Mission Social Solidarity (KMSS) could not withdraw funds from the bank to buy rations for May and June. “Currently, some families have no rice left. Obviously, there are many people concerned about their food rations not arriving,” the source said.

Every month, each family rely on 64 cans of rice, 1 litre of cooking oil and a package of salt from KMSS.

Since the coup, banks have restricted withdrawals to prevent people from emptying their bank accounts.

Residents of Magar Yang IDP camp are facing the same ordeal. Rations and funds from the World Food Programme delivered through the Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC) have not arrived.

“The WFP provides a bag of rice and 40 Chinese RNB ($6) to our family every month. If the KBC can’t visit us, they send it through Health Properties Action,” a female resident told NMG.

She said they only received rice and money for May, but nothing in June and July. With food prices rising amid the ‘third wave’, they cannot buy much with six dollars from the expensive vendors selling things at their camp.

“Before the COVID-19 outbreak, a small bottle of cooking oil cost 17 yuan ($2.60) but now costs 20 yuan ($3),” she said, explaining they are no longer allowed to travel to China where things are cheaper.

“We are sharing whatever rice we have left with each other,” an IDP from Jay Yang said. They can no longer work as day labourers to support themselves or seek employment in China. The IDP said they are really suffering with the outbreak happening the same time as the political crisis.

Over 37,920 people live in 19 camps in KIO controlled territory.