IDPs in Pekon Township facing food shortages

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By Kantarawaddy Times

IDPs in western Pekon Township in southern Shan State say that the humanitarian assistance they depend on to survive is being delayed by security-related transportation disruptions. Recently IDPs are receiving food rations only once a month due to transportation difficulties, say IDPs and volunteers.

Volunteers said that recently donor organizations have been providing basic food rations to IDPs in Pekong Township only once a month or once every two months.

“Donors told us that it’s really difficult to transport food rations for IDPs. Sometimes they have to pause the delivery of food rations because of security concerns. Sometimes the donor’s budget for food rations is not enough to meet the needs of all IDPs so some IDPs do not get food rations,” a male volunteer helping IDP in Pekon Township told Kantarawaddy Times.

IDPs are worried that they won’t receive food rations on time and will run out of food to eat. Local people in Mobye and eastern Pekong Township have been displaced for nearly two years and depend on food rations to survive.

A male IDP, who has taken shelter in an IDP camp in western Pekon Township, said that he has eight family members including a disabled son. They depend on donations and food rations. He said if they don’t receive humanitarian aid it will be difficult for them to get enough food to eat.

“If we do not get food rations such as rice, or some funds to purchase food, we will starve. We cannot grow paddy in this area. There is no paddy field here. We have to buy rice. If we do not get food rations or money, we will starve,” the male IDP told Kantarawaddy Times.

Intense battles are still happening in western Pekon Township. Local people from Tawng Salon, Myauk Salon and Baw Yang villages have been displaced for nearly two months in western Pekong Township due to the fighting.

A female IDP, who originally lived in Tawng Salon but has taken shelter in a school building, said that they still have rice, cooking oil and salt, but they do not have any vegetables to eat.

“We do not have regular income. We are facing so many difficulties in the IDP camp. For example, we have rice, cooking oil and salt but we do not have any vegetables to cook for our meal. Some donor organizations provide vegetables but they only come at the middle of the month, so we do not have any vegetable in the first weeks of the month. At the moment, we still have some rice,” the female IDP told Kantarawaddy Times.

Volunteers reported that as of 4 April there are about 10,560 IDPs in western Pekon Township. The majority of IDPs in western Pekon Township are women and children. In Pekon Township, some IDPs are staying with their relatives and some are living in IDP camps. In addition to delays in the delivery of food rations, IDP face other challenges including lack of water in the dry season and a lack of shelter materials such as plastic roofing sheets.

Intense battles continue between the Burma army and People’s Defense Force (PDF) in Pekon and Pinlaung Townships in southern Shan state. IDP are unable to return to their homes because of this on-going fighting.

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