Karenni IDPs Suffering From PTSD

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By Kantarawaddy Times

Civilians suffering from long-term trauma due to displacement caused by the war in Karenni State need therapy, the director of the Karenni Human Rights Group has said.

“Before, these people weren’t afraid of planes and felt the need to run away and hide when they heard them. In fact, they have never seen a plane and were excited when they saw one, but now the opposite is true,” Banyar told Kantarawaddy Times.

The regime has already flown several air strikes on the displaced camps in the state and shelled them with artillery, killing and maiming civilians, including several children.

The internally displaced persons (IDPs) are suffering from depression after being forced from their land for almost two years. Some of them have been separated from their families during this time or have lost them altogether, including their houses and farms and all their other possessions. They don’t feel safe in the camps and worry about their children’s education.

Some women’s organisations, volunteers and camp committees have tried to counsel them, but so far their efforts haven’t been consistent and therefore not effective.

“We all have a responsibility to help them feel happier,” says Banyar, and offer them more counselling so they can express what they really feel. Engaging IDPs in religious and cultural activities can also help alleviate their suffering, he suggested.

Maw Hpray Myar, secretary of the Karenni Women Organisation, said the Karenni State Consultative Council (KSCC) needs to provide more therapy as part of a rehabilitation programme for IDPs after reforming its administrative team.

KSCC chair Aung San Myint agrees with her and says they’ll try to find more help for the IDPs. “We’ll form a humanitarian assistance committee under the KSCC administration team to seek assistance (from donors) for the IDPs.”

KSCC was formed by the Karenni National Progressive Party, Karenni Nationalities Defense Force, civil society groups and Karenni lawmakers ousted during the coup two years ago.

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