Karenni IDP camp facing food ration supply shortage

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By Kantarawaddy Times

The closure of the road from Thailand is disrupting the supply chain of food rations for the nearly 4,000 Internally Displaced People (IDP) living at the Dor Noe Ku camp, according to camp administrators and IDPs. The Dor Noe Ku camp is located at the border of Karenni State and Thailand.

Thai authorities have blocked the road typically used to transport food rations for more than a month due to security reasons. The closure of the road by Thai authorities was in response to a Burma army artillery shell landing on Thai soil last month. This road closure had affected the ability to transport rice and other food products to the Dor Noe Ku IDP camp.

Chair of IDP camp administration committee, U Hker Htel, said that they don’t have enough rice to keep any in stockpile for emergency situations. He said the committee has already the rice ration quota the past two weeks, and expects a food shortfall in the near future.

“Food supply to the camp depends on the road being open. If the Thai authorities continue to keep the road closed, we will be unable to bring in food rations. We estimate that we will begin facing food shortages in the coming days,” U Hker Htel told Kantarawaddy Times.

U Aung San Myint, Secretary-2 of the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP), said that no matter the reason for the blockage of the camp’s food supply, he is exploring alternative solutions to provide food rations for the IDPs.

“Even though the border road has been blocked, we have to find solutions to get food rations for the IDPs. We need to find alternative ways to solve this problem. Enemies come from different directions but we need to defend ourselves. We do not need to give up,” U Aung San Myint told Kantarawaddy Times.

U Aung San Myint reflected that in the past the Thai authorities occasionally blocked the road for short periods, but always opened it again. At the moment, the closure has been for more than a month, so now the IDPs are in danger of facing food shortages.

“I do not know what to do. There is very little rice left. We do not have extra money to buy rice. I do not know where I can get rice to eat,” Daw Nye Myar, a Dor Noe Ku IDP camp resident, told Kantarawaddy Times.

In the past, the monthly rice ration for the entire Dor Noe Ku IDP camp was approximately 700 bags. In addition to the rice ration the IDPs received monthly rations of yellow beans, cooking oil, salt and other basic food items.

“If an IDP has family members working in a foreign country, they will usually receive some remittances to buy rice and other basic essentials. My family does not have any relatives working in a foreign country. Sometimes we work are able to work for daily wages, but the amount of money is not enough to support my family in the IDP camp. We are always going without something here, for example we may be able to buy rice but we don’t have enough to buy onions or chili or cooking oil. We really depend on the food rations,” a female IDP told Kantarawaddy Times.

IDPs typically cultivate vegetable gardens in the camp during monsoon season, but they cannot grow vegetables during summer time because of a lack of irrigation water. Due to a lack of access to land, the IDPs are unable to cultivate rotational agriculture farms near the camp. They mainly depend on humanitarian assistance for their survival. This is why the disruption of the supply route for the food rations is expected to have a serious impact on the food security in the IDP camp.

“Sometime we do not have enough food, so we have to eat banana stems to survive. Sometimes we have to search for eatable leaves in the jungle. Life is so difficult for us here in the IDP camp,” U Ngar Reh, a Dor Noe Ku IDP camp resident, told Kantarawaddy Times.

Dor Noe Ku IDP camp was built in 2021 after armed conflict broke out in Karenni State and many people needed to flee their villages because they feared living in a conflict zone. Intense battles are still happening in Karenni State regularly. The number of IDPs fleeing to IDP camps in border areas continues to increase.

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