Friday, August 18, 2017

MPs call for donations to help shelter IDPs

More than 1200 displaced people in northern Shan State are urgently in need of shelter, local MPs say. They have issued an urgent appeal to donors to help build accommodations for families displaced by conflict.

In a statement issued on January 1, the MPs say the 1231 IDPs from 311 households were driven from their homes by the military conflict six months ago, and the temporary arrangements made for them are no longer adequate.

One of the signatories, Lashio MP Sai Wan Hlaing Kham (SNLD; Shan 3), called for donors to contribute to Shan State hluttaw. He has just returned from a December 31 visit to the camps.

The IDPs have been housed in five locations in Namtu township, Shan State, since they were driven from their homes last June. They have little hope of returning as long as the military clashes continue.

“We arranged for the IDP camps to move from the monasteries and churches to vacant land in the forestry department area. The township administration allowed the IDPs to stay there, but the arrangement is temporary,” said MP Daw Nam San Huam (SNLD; Namtu 2). “The people could not stay in the existing shelters, which are decaying. Some households decided to move to the new locations, but others are still hoping to go back to their villages. They all need shelter, and we are appealing to local donors.”

War an ever-present nightmare for Shan villagers

Residents of nine villages in Manton township abandoned their homes because of armed clashes in the area, and moved to Shwe Myin Thar Monastery, Lisu Camp, and two facilities run by the Kachin Baptist Church and the Catholic church. International donors and the Social Welfare Ministry provided support, said Sai Ba Nyan, chair of the Namtu Social Support Group.

“The IDP camps occupied land meant for religious purposes, which is not adequate in the long term. We’ve arranged for them to move to vacant land near the town. About 100 households can relocate by the end of January if we arrange shelter, electricity and water,” said Sai Ba Nyan. The IDPs are of Kachin, Shan, Pa Laung/Ta’Aung and Lisu ethnicities.

In December, 1250 villagers fled to Man San village, Namtu township, from Pan Lon because of the clashes in their area, but have since returned home as the situation is now calm, said MP Daw Nam San Huam.

Another group of 3000, driven from their homes in the third week of December, fled to Lashio, Hsipaw and Namtu from the Pan Lon village tract. Many cannot return home because of continuing fighting, and cannot find employment where they are living now.

According to a December report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) about 218,000 people are sheltering in temporary camps in Rakhine, Kachin and Shan states.

This article has been corrected to reflect that residents of nine villages were displaced from Manton township, not from Waingmaw (Kachin State) and Mine Ton/Mong Ton (Shan State) townships, as was previously stated. The Myanmar Times regrets the error.