Twenty-five Percent Of Karenni State Displaced By Conflict

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By Kantarawaddy Times

Over twenty-five percent of Karenni State have been forced from their homes after fighting broke out between a civilian resistance group and Burma Army. Since last month, the Army launched a statewide offensive targeting the resistance fighters and everyone else.

In the last two weeks, Tatmadaw indiscriminately attacked villages with artillery and abducted civilians for human shields during fighting with the People’s Defense Force—also called Karenni Nationalities Defence Force—in Karenni and southern Shan states.

“There are 400,000 people in Karenni State; twenty-five percent are hiding in the jungle. We cannot defend ourselves from the Burma Army’s excessive force for much longer. We need assistance and protection from the international community,” said a member of Humanitarian Focal, a department of Karenni State Consultative Council.

With 100,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs), Demawso Township has the most civilians affected by the violence, with Loikaw Township in second place.

After the Army blocked all entry points into Karenni State, Humanitarian Focal told Kantarawaddy Times support groups are struggling to supply the IDPs camps with food, medicine and other essential items. Making matters worse, there were several bridges destroyed during the fighting.

“We mainly need food because some couldn’t bring anything when they fled. Of course, we are too afraid to return to our homes to collect our food,” said an IDP in Demawso Township, who estimated having only enough rations for one or two weeks. Medicine is another item in short supply in the camps.

Humanitarian Focal hopes the United Nations and International Committee of the Red Cross, as well as other large non-governmental organisations, will apply pressure on the military council to open transportation into the state to allow humanitarian aid to reach the IDPs before it is too late.

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