- POSTED: 17 Sep 2013 21:19
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Civil conflicts in the last two years have left some 100,000 people displaced in Kachin state, north of Myanmar.
KACHIN STATE, Myanmar: Civil conflicts in the last two years have left some 100,000 people displaced in Kachin state, north of Myanmar.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, it has managed to offer humanitarian assistance to only about 40,000 of these displaced people.
Restricted access and remote locations have proved to be the main challenges for providing aid to those affected.
At an Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp, children entertain themselves without a care in the world.
The adults here seem resigned to their fate, not knowing when they might be able to return to their original homes.
These people fled their villages due to clashes between government forces and the Kachin Independence Army in 2011.
Many have since been living in such camps.
Aung Tu, IDP camp project manager of the Catholic Church Community Health and Development Programme, said: "The people here, they have no hope. They never think about their future life. They are just living day by day here.
"The children... in the IDP camps are from the fighting area, they (have) only very basic education in the village and because of the fighting and conflict two years ago, when they came here... they're a little discriminated by the outside.
“They do not like to mention their situation to the others, so they are psychologically affected. That is why they do not want to meet with other people outside that much."
The camp is one of the few that are receiving aid from the United Nations and non-government organisations.
But conditions are still far from ideal.
Dr Tu Ja Manam, a Kachin politician, said: "The Kachin people's lives are very difficult now. They have to face a lot of difficulties, especially the IDP persons.
"They cannot travel freely and they cannot do (things) freely for their livelihood. Therefore, they are facing a lot of difficulties for their livelihood, for their survival.
“Therefore, peace and the regional stability are very important for the general public, especially for the IDP persons. There are so many camps and so many people. The government cannot afford... They don't have enough budget.
“Actually, this is the responsibility of the government. (It is the) government's duty but they cannot give sufficient support to them."
The United Nations said that as of July this year, about US$13 million has been disbursed to help provide aid such as food, education and shelter. But an additional US$38 million is still needed.
Lajon Ngan Seng, chief minister of the Kachin State Government, said: "We know (the refugees) face many difficulties daily. I am sorry about that. That is why as part of the peace plan, the central government and the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) have agreed to work to solve the problems concerning the IDP camps.
“Both (the government and the KIO) are trying to resolve this quickly. In this situation, even though we want to tackle this issue quickly, more discussions are still needed.”
The people have been given skills in terms of going through programmes run by the camp to teach them work skills such as how to weave, how to make food, as well as how to make key chains. This is so that they are able to apply those skills later on when they do eventually head back to their village to make a life for themselves.