Karenni IDPs Struggle With Dwindling Aid

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By Kantarawaddy Times

After more than a year of fighting in Karenni State, people uprooted by the conflict are receiving less support than last year because there’s more people in need. The clashes have also prevented many people from cultivating their fields, causing a looming food shortage that threatens the well-being of hundreds of thousands over the next six months.

A male volunteer with the Karenni IDP (internally displaced person) Assistance Network said that many people were unable to cultivate their fields in 2021, but that it has gotten much worse this year, while at the same time food costs have risen dramatically. They’ve no choice but to give less food to the IDPs, he said, explaining that they used to give five baskets of rice to each family, but now only give three.

Yaw Han, who was displaced by the war in western Demawso Township, said: “We have to divide whatever food is available among us.” They are trying to help themselves as best they can, he says.

Sometimes that means eating one meal a day so your children can eat twice, explained Kyaw Ni, who was also forced from his home because of the fighting in the township.

Another volunteer from the IDP network said most of the aid comes from out of state or local private donors, pointing out the need for larger groups such as the World Food Programme to step up their support to those in need. “If both the WFP and private donors helped the IDPs, I’d expect they would receive enough food.”

In early May, the WFP donated 56 cans of rice, one litre of cooking oil, 1.63 kg of yellow beans and one packet of salt to each family in Dor Tama ward of Loikaw.

The war has displaced more than 200,000 people, and many residents have fled to safety in neighbouring states. Fighting is picking up again in Loikaw, Demawso and Hpruso townships, and Pekon and Mobye towns in southern Shan State, where clashes are occurring daily.

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