IDPs Facing Food Shortages During COVID-19 Lockdown

By Network Media Group
Thursday, January 14, 2021

Residents of an internally displaced persons (IDPs) camp in Kachin State’s Capital Myitkyina, are running out of food after a case of COVID-19 was discovered in the camp.

No-one has been able to leave St. Joseph IDP camp to work since January 10, when a 15-year-old tested positive.

“We’d really like to contact the Kachin State government to explain the difficulties we’re facing, but we don’t know how to reach them,” said Khun Awng, who’s in charge of the camp. He told NMG they informed Karuna Mission Social Solidarity (KMSS) they don’t have enough food.

Before the lockdown, residents told NMG they were following government health guidelines when leaving the camp for work.

According to Khun Awng, forty-four people in the camp who had contact with the boy have been isolated. Everyone tested negative, but they’ll be tested again soon. Khun Awng worries one of them might have contracted the virus.

The teenager worked outside of the camp at gold mines in Lashi Yang and N’jang Yang before getting sick.

Camp residents received personal protective equipment and testing kits from the government and KMSS but are still waiting for food.

Over 2,000 people or more than 300 families are living in the camp.

The teenager is receiving care at the Myitkyina Public Hospital, and his four family members are being quarantined in town.

In Kachin State, almost 100,000 people remain uprooted by fighting between the Kachin Independence Organization/Army and Burma Army that started nearly a decade ago.