Volunteers Entertain IDPs Suffering From Trauma

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By Kantarawaddy Times

Civilians uprooted in Karenni State are dealing with trauma after the long conflict forced them from their homes and family members died.

A volunteer with the Karenni IDPs (internally displaced peoples) Assistance Network said that women and children in particular are suffering from depression after experiencing loss.

Youth are providing activities for the IDPs in the camp, she said, to help them feel better. “They feel happy when we entertain them,” the volunteer told Kantarawaddy Times.

Both the pandemic and the coup have been devastating for many people in the state. Families have lost their father or mother at a time when they’re doing badly economically and are worried about their survival.

Nearly 200,000 people have been displaced by the fighting in the state, which began several months after the coup. They’re still unable to return to their homes as clashes continue daily across Karenni State.

“We don’t feel safe: we’re worried about the airstrikes,” said one IDP requesting anonymity, who had to flee after an attack. “A shell landed on the school in our camp, so we cannot allow our children to continue studying there.”

IDPs know to hide in bunkers when they hear a jet fighter overhead or an artillery shell nearby, but they also seek shelter when they hear something as mundane as a car horn.

According to the Karenni Nurses Association, founded by nurses who joined the country’s Civil Disobedience Movement, at least fifty percent of IDPs suffer from depression.

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