Karenni Civilians Traumatised By War

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By Kantarawaddy Times

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Civilians traumatised and depressed by over a year of conflict in Karenni State need therapy.

Khoon Philip, director of the Civil Health and Development Network (CHDN), says that while attempts are being made to help them recover, ”it’s really difficult to treat their depression”.

“They’re used to seeing dead bodies and bullet wounds, gunshot injuries…hearing gunfire and shells exploding around them.”

One of the problems is that “they’ve no guarantee of safety”, he explained.

Civil society groups are trying to offer them counselling.

Many living in the internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps are women, children and elderly people who don’t have enough to eat after the war forced them to flee their homes. Some of them lost their homes when the Burma Army (BA) attacked their village.

“The BA burnt down my house and we’ve no regular income. This makes me depressed,” says Nwe Nwe Hlaing , who lives in a camp in western Demawso township.

According to Vicent Shar, who also lives in a camp after fleeing his village, some people lost their son or husband to the conflict and now have to look after their two to three children alone.

A nurse from the anti-regime Karenni Nurses Association said more than half of the IDPs suffer from mental depression. “We need good trainers to train health workers to provide them with mental health services. At the moment, we’re focusing on other health and nutrition needs.”

The junta has attacked villages with airstrikes every day for the past year. According to the Karenni Civil Society Network, more than 200,000 people have been displaced by the fighting in Karenni State, 60% of them women and children.

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