In the Salaung refugee camp in the western part of Demawso township, Karenni State, people have been facing water scarcity since October, and currently they are having to buy and transport water for the camp, according to residents.
When it comes to buying water, one cubic meter (1,000 liters) is bought for 2,500 kyats, and only one cubic meter is bought for every two households, said U San Bon, a member of the Salaung refugee camp committee.
“Now, when it comes to water, we provide as much as we can, but we can’t provide one unit per family,” U San Boon said.
U Aung Tin Oo, who lives in the Salaung camp, says that there are no water donors. “The problem with the drought is that my uncle and I are poor, so we have to buy one cubic meter at 2,500 kyats only with the water supply arranged by the camp committee. I can’t buy water the usual way at the place where my uncle distributes it.”
There are 91 houses in the refugee camp and more than 400 people. U San Bon, a member of the Salaung camp committee, said that because of the drought, hygiene problems are common in the camp. “When people can’t bathe regularly because of the drought, they get skin problems. We all face this difficulty,” U San Boon said.
The refugees said that the camps on the west side of Demawso township have been affected by drought since last year, and since there are no good water sources, they have to rely on rainwater.
In the Karenni region, they face the problem of drought every year in the hot season (April and May), but this year some of the refugee camps and villages are starting to experience water shortages already from October onwards.