Displaced Karenni Civilians Face Funding Shortfall

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By Blessing/Kantarawaddy Times

Support for civilians uprooted by the war in Karenni State has dried up as the food they brought with them when they fled has been eaten and support from international agencies and Karenni resettled in a third country have dwindled in 2023.

“This is the reality and we have to face it,” Banyar, spokesperson for the Karenni State Consultative Committee’s (KSCC) Humanitarian Assistance Committee, told Kantarawaddy Times.

KSCC was formed by the Karenni National Progressive Party, civil society groups and Karenni lawmakers ousted during the coup two years ago.

With the lack of relief supplies, displaced Karenni and even those who did not have to flee their villages have less food on the table.

“Sometimes we have to borrow rice from a friend…Even if the rice is spoiled, we have to eat it because we have no other choice,” a woman from western Demawso Township told Kantarawaddy Times on condition of anonymity. There are 900 people in her camp and they have not received any aid for three months, whereas donors used to bring rice, cooking oil, salt, clothes and other things.

Displaced civilians in Shwe Tawng Tan, Thae Phyu Tawng and Reekee Buu camps in western Hpruso Township have also not received any assistance for over three months. The camp committees are scrambling for more donations because they fear they will run out of supplies. Peter Lewis, who is helping the people in Hpruso, said they need rice most of all.

“The ASEAN and UN agencies are providing humanitarian aid under the regime’s mechanisms, but 90-95 per cent of the displaced civilians live in camps outside the control of the military government, and these agencies can not reach them.”

The military is actively preventing donors from reaching civilians in need. Two-thirds of the country’s population has been displaced from their villages and towns by the conflict. People fear that they will soon starve to death if the situation doesn’t improve.

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