Karenni Groups Call For Cross-border to Address Humanitarian Crisis

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By Kantarawaddy Times

The humanitarian crisis in Karenni State has escalated following the launch of the 1111 Operation by the Karenni resistance to seize Loikaw and Mobye. Since November 11, when offensives were initiated to capture the towns from State Administration Council (SAC), over 45,000 people have been displaced. The total number of people forced to flee their homes in Karenni and Pekon Township in southern Shan states now exceeds 300,000 since the military coup.

U Banyar, second secretary of Karenni State Interim Executive Council (IEC), emphasized the dire situation and urgently called for cross-border aid from United Nations (UNs) agencies. IEC, established by the resistance and civil societies, is providing administration in areas outside of SAC’s control.

Banyar urged the international community to provide humanitarian aid to internally displaced persons (IDPs) through the Thai border with the support of the Thai government. He highlighted the challenges posed by roadblocks imposed by SAC in areas controlled by the regime, hindering volunteer groups from purchasing and delivering food to IDPs. The closures have significantly increased food costs, leading to shortages in Karenni State.

Volunteer groups stressed the importance of organising cross-border aid alongside local organisations, emphasizing that direct aid to IDPs through local entities would be more effective than through international NGOs based in SAC-controlled areas.

Maw Hpray Myar, second secretary of Karenni National Women Organisation, noted the cost-effectiveness of sending food across the border with civil society groups in regions managed by IEC, compared to established INGOs. She emphasized that delivering aid directly through local organisations would actually improve efficiency, allowing more food to reach the hungry.

“If volunteers are unable to buy us rice, we will starve,” said an IDP. Having sought refuge at least 10 different locations due to the ongoing conflict, she expressed the difficulty of finding food to buy at her current IDP camp in western Demoso Township. Despite inflation and limited resources, she and her family save whatever they can, uncertain of when they will have access to more food.

IEC reported assisting 228 staff members of UN agencies and INGOs, along with their families, to safely relocate during the fighting in Loikaw town. In a November 18 statement, urging the aid workers to flee the capital of Karenni State, it reiterated the call for cross-border aid to address the worsening humanitarian situation.

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