There are twice as many IDPs in KIO-controlled areas as in government-controlled areas.
The Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC) will begin disseminating a recent grant from the Nippon Foundation to assist Kachin internally displaced people (IDPs) in the second week of April, according to KBC staff members.
The funds total US$300,000.
“We will prioritize these funds for assisting Kachin IDPs living in government-controlled areas,” Sara Hka Li, from KBC’s social development department, told KNG. “First, we are going to spend these funds for the relocation of IDPs in Sanpya camp. We are going to build vocational training schools and other needed buildings. The objective is to reduce poverty and food shortages.”
Representatives of the Nippon Foundation can travel more easily to government-controlled areas than areas controlled by the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) in order to observe how the funds are being used, Sara Hka Li explained.
However, according to data compiled by the Kachin Humanitarian Concern Committee (KHCC), there are more than 80,000 Kachin IDPs living in KIO-controlled areas and 40,000 living in government-controlled areas.
KBC hopes to build shelters for IDPs before the start of the next rainy season in May, but the current funds will not cover shelters for all those who need it; 1,050 homes have been identified by the organization to receive the first round of assistance.
Rev. Dr. Hkalam Samson, chairman of KBC and a leader within KHCC, said the Nippon Foundation transferred the grant money to KBC’s office in the Kachin State capital of Myitkyina on April 4.
"In the first meeting, Nippon Foundation told us that they could only provide assistance after the KIO signed the NCA [Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement] with government. In the second meeting, they said that their assistance policy is not really related to the NCA signing,” he explained. “Therefore, they are going to provide assistance for IDPs living in both government- and KIO-controlled areas.”
The Nippon Foundation met with Kachin civil society organizatinos and religious leaders for the first time in December 2018 and again in February of this year. In the second meeting, the Nippon Foundation agreed to provide assistance to Kachin IDPs. The next meeting is scheduled for May.
KHCC representatives have said that they will negotiate with both government and KIO officials to facilitate the safe return home of Kachin IDPs.
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