Report from Karen Mobile Health Workers:
“We started on April 24, 2005 and ended on June 3, 2005. We had a talk with the local resistance leaders in the area before starting the mission. They thanked us very much, because with this trip there was medicine to support the people who live in an area where their clinics are not able to be used, as they are under Burma Army control. . We stayed with the leaders for a few days because the Burma Army was patrolling in the area. A villager nearby stepped on a land mine and his right leg was cut off. We stayed there until May 15th to care for the villager and his leg wound and arranged for the patient transportation to a hospital. We started our journey again on May 16th. On May 19th we slept in the new clinic in K Village. Around that time, the Burma Army had left the area and the villagers who fled into the forest while they were patrolling were able to return to their villages. We treated and encouraged patients. After a few days we treated patients who were still in the jungle. Their health condition is poor. They move or leave their place when they hear the Burma Army is coming. The most common diseases in this area are Malaria, respiratory tract infections, diarrhea and dysentery.
Since the Burma Army had burned the village, the villagers have not had enough food. Those villagers who do have rice share it with others. Some of them must work as day laborers to earn money to buy rice. People in this area earn their living by slash and burn farming. The rice plantation they had was good, but it was destroyed by wild pigs and mice because it was planted in the deep forest. The villagers struggle very hard every day.
The Burma Army burned the school in K Village. Many children must stay home and help their parents. In this area, 70% of the children are illiterate.
After the village was burnt, some of the villagers did not come back, but instead stayed in houses deep in the forest. They are afraid that the Burma Army will come again, recognize the place as a resistance supported area, and kill them without question. The local security can’t defend this place completely. If the Burma Army comes they must move to the deep forest until they are gone.
On May 21, 2005, we left a few health workers in the village and headed to another village. We searched for scattered villagers. We treated patients, assembled the villagers, and talked about the present problems they faced. We were there for a few hours and then moved on. The next day we met with the village religious leader, trained 4 medics to care for their village, and gathered information. We arrived back after the mission safely.”
Letter from the area commander passed on by the relief team:
“To: The people who support us,
With full respect, I am pleased to write to you and thank you for helping us with medicine and other materials. You gave us medicine and it was a blessing for the community and the organizations in this area. In April, everyone in our area had diarrhea and they had to depend on the medicine which came from you. Without your help a lot of people would have been in trouble and would have died. Instead of that very bad outcome, only seven people died in April from the diarrhea outbreak. We thank you so much for finding the way in helping our people. So may God bless you. We want you to visit us now, if not you can’t come if the military condition is changed. All the villagers have thank you and your friend who helped us. At last I want to say God bless you all.”