December 2011: A scene at the Warabung displaced persons camp in Kachin State, northern Myanmar December 2011. Credit: IRIN
More aid is expected to reach northern Myanmar as UN is allowed better access to displaced people
Two UN convoys have delivered emergency relief supplies to people displaced by conflict in areas of Myanmar’s northern Kachin State. The supplies, including a month-long ration of food, water-purification tablets, rehydration salts and basic medicine, have been delivered to some 3,300 people. Another convoy is en route to deliver more aid and assess people’s needs.
The convoys delivered aid to camps in Sadung, Lweje and Mai Jayang along the Myanmar-China border, returning to base on 29 March. This is the first time the UN has had access to these areas since armed conflict broke out between Government troops and the Kachin Independence Organization/Kachin Independence Army (KIO/A) in June 2011.
In December 2011, another convoy carrying relief supplies was allowed into Laiza, also along the border.
“Reaching all displaced people in Kachin with humanitarian assistance is critically important,” said Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Ashok Nigam. “This joint effort has been possible through receiving the cooperation of the Government and the KIO/A, as well as our humanitarian partners on the ground.”
The conflict has displaced some 50,000 to 55,000 people since June. Several thousand others are believed to be living with families in China.
“I miss my home and school. I wish the conflict ended and we could go back to life as usual,” said Zan Nan, a ninth-grade student who fled her village and now lives in a shelter in Lweje with her family. “We are glad to receive some of the essential items today, they are very helpful. It is hard living in here without even some basics.”
The UN has called for sustained access to displaced people in all areas to ensure adequate assistance reaches all those affected by the conflict. The humanitarian response needs to be stepped up before the onset of the upcoming monsoon season, when road conditions are expected to deteriorate.