Tens Of Thousands Displaced By Conflict in Kayah State

By Network Media Group
Wednesday, May 26, 2021

About 70,000 villagers have been displaced since fighting between Karenni People’s Defense Force and Burma Army erupted in Kayah (aka Karenni) State. The conflict, which started last Friday, has already claimed many lives while homes and properties in the state have been destroyed by shelling.

To escape the violence, residents of Demawso, Loikaw, Hpruso townships in Kayah State and Pekon township in southern Shan State have fled to the jungle or internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps. Civilians in urban areas are staying in Buddhist monasteries or nursing homes.

A camp committee member for Pekin Kaw Khu told NMG more than a thousand villagers are staying at the camp, explaining there are others who are hiding in the jungle or with relatives. Villagers ran away after Burma Army shelled their homes, the source said. Many are elderly, women and children needing emergency aid. There is also someone in the camp who was shot and the bullet is still lodged inside their leg. There are over 20 pregnant women.

More IDPs keep arriving, yet they don’t have enough shelter to protect them from the rain. They also need food and medicine and nutrient supplements for the elders and children, as well as warm blankets, clothing and rain gear.

Volunteers said fighting makes it dangerous to deliver assistance to the 20 or so IDP camps that have been established since the conflict began.

Fighting broke out in Demawso from about 4:30am to 10am on Tuesday, May 25, and in the afternoon on the same day in Nernat Taw area, in Loikaw Township, a man told NMG.

A male volunteer said they are communicating with as many as 20 camps with over 10 people with injuries and many children and elderly. “If the international community comes to help us, we will be very happy,” he said.

IDPs want both sides to avoid fighting near the camps and not harm donors or prevent them from providing them with the assistance they urgently require.