Kachin Rangers Help IDPs in Kachin State
24 May 2020
Kachin State, Burma
This report was written by a Kachin Ranger.
It has been 10 years since internally displaced people (IDPs) have been unable to return to their homes. It is not safe since there are military installations near villages. Abandoned villages are at risk because of the planting of landmines. The old houses are overgrown by bushes and are rickety and need repairs. The IDPs have no money and face difficulties in paying for the construction of the houses.
Valuable household things including rice mills were taken away by the Burma Army. Things in the church were destroyed, according to the villagers. No one is allowed to enter the village. It is marked as a restricted area and the Burma Army has said anyone seen in the village would be shot. Burma Army IB (276) is stationed there.
In Kachin State, there are over 100,000 IDPs. In the area where the Rangers recently went on mission, there are 25 IDP camps, totaling 37,321 people from 740 villages of 7,315 households. The Karuna Mission Social Solidarity (KMSS) is primarily responsible for the IDPs’ food. Salt, oil and rice are distributed to IDPs, with each one receiving a liter of oil, 6 large cans and 6 small cans of rice monthly.
IDP houses are donated by the Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC) and the Metta Foundation. School stationery and supplies are donated by Health Poverty Action (HPA), KBC and the Kachin Independence Organization’s Department of Education. The IDP houses need to be repaired or rebuilt. The kitchens are leaking, so the people are worried about the upcoming rainy season.
IDPs fear that COVID-19 will infect their communities easily due to their circumstances. They want masks and awareness-raising about protection against the virus in the camps. They are also worried about food shortages as rice is distributed to them once in a month. They want it to be distributed in advance for two months.
From March 16-30 the Kachin Ranger team conducted encouragement, medical care and food distribution activities for the IDPs. The GLC program was done in nine IDP Camps. 1,815 students between the ages of 5 and 18 participated in the program. GLC T-shirts were given out. 150 GLC T-shirts were given out to children, and soap, lentil, oil, dried fish, garlic and potatoes distributed to families in Dumbung Camp.
The Rangers performed a drama about how to be careful not to get infected by COVID-19. Each person should be at a distance of one meter from one another and they should cover their mouth with something when coughing. Hygiene is also important. People should clean hands when arriving somewhere from outside, should clean hands before meal, wash your hands with soap after toilet, clothes should be hung up in the sun.
After the GLC program and games, snacks and tea were fed to the children. 1,815 IDP children participated in the GLC program in nine camps. Sports equipment like volleyball with net, football, cane-ball with net and racket with net was distributed in the camps.
On this mission, the Kachin team served 489 patients, gave medical care to 571 people and extracted teeth of 82 people.
In almost all IDP camps, on school holidays, they take music training classes and learn Chinese. Some cannot afford the instruments needed for music training, so they borrow them from others. Musical tools are needed in the camps too. FBR gave the music committee 500 Yuan for training.
The team did a recon of Burma Army Post near KIA Company (2) Dam Post, 15th Battalion. According to the KIA Post Commander, around 100 Burma Army soldiers stay at their post. They are taking security of Tahkaw (Taping) River Dam.
In 2013 and 2014, Burma Army soldiers had fired small arms and 60mm mortars toward KIA Post. Since then, no guns or mortars have been fired. Burma Army soldiers in civilian dresses came to watch from the dam. According to KIA soldiers, Burma Army kept two or three military trucks at the base. The post is 1.5 km from Dumbung IDP camp and more than 200 meters from the KIA post. The fighting began to erupt in June 2011 from there.
A total of 14 Kachin and Karen Rangers came on this mission. Because of COVID-19, some Rangers could not join in. The FBR team showed love and encouragement to the IDPs. The IDPs expressed their gratitude to FBR for this mission. They look forward to more future missions.
God bless you all!
Kachin Team Leader