Karenni IDPs Could Face Starvation Soon

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By Kantarawaddy Times

Villagers affected by the conflict in Karenni State are on the verge of starvation as food supplies are alarmingly low. If the international community does not provide enough relief, some people could die of hunger in the next few months, said Banyar, who administers humanitarian affairs for the Karenni State Consultative Council.

“We are extremely concerned about food rations for internally displaced persons (IDPs) and villagers as supplies are running low,” he said, relaying this information to several donor organisations and foreign embassies. Not only civilians displaced by the fighting do not have enough to eat, ordinary villagers are also suffering.

The Burma Army (BA) has been restricting the amount of rice and other food that can be transported since September last year. Hoping to restrict food from reaching resistance groups fighting to overthrow the regime, only 20 bags of rice can be transported at a time without permission.

Another problem is the lack of medicines when people fall ill, which BA soldiers have seized. Some IDPs have already died after not receiving medical treatment.

With well over half of the state’s 300,000 people uprooted by the violence, “we are not in a position to provide enough assistance to all of the IDPs and therefore request international agencies to provide the needed assistance in Karenni State as soon as possible,” said Maw Fray Myar, the second secretary of the Karenni Women Organisation. For now, she said they must prioritize food and other supplies such as tarps for shelters for women, pregnant women and children under 5.

According to the Karenni Civil Society Network, 177,115 people have been displaced as of 13 February.

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