Relocated IDPs Call for Better Conditions in Unofficial Camp

Residents of the unregistered Pangmati IDP camp in Myitkyina say they want same level of support as other camps.

Residents of an unofficial camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the Kachin State capital Myitkyina are calling on the authorities to do more to improve their living conditions.

The IDPs in Myitkyina’s Pangmati Ward say the government has ignored their pleas for help as they continue to live in plastic shelters more than a year after they were forced to leave their previous camp in Namti, about 40km west of Myitkyina.

“We haven’t received any assistance from the government. We’ve been here for more than a year, and the rainy season has started, but as you can see, we are still living in plastic shelters,” Pangmati camp resident Ladang Naw told KNG.

There are about 20 IDP camps located around Myitkyina, but the Pangmati camp is the only one where residents are forced to life directly on the ground in makeshift shelters that offer little protection from the elements, leaving them vulnerable to health problems.

“It’s really difficult to live like this. We have also spoken about it to NGOs that are helping IDPs, but they still haven’t provided us with anything that we need. We want the authorities to come here and see the conditions we are living in,” said Ladang Naw.

However, the state government has so far done little to assist those living in the Pangmati camp, citing the fact that it isn’t a registered shelter for IDPs.

“Frankly, I want to say that the Pangmati camp is not an official IDP camp in Myitkyina. When these IDPs moved there, the government ministers were changing their positions, so I don’t know the situation there very well myself. But we are trying to provide them with assistance,” said the state’s minister for municipal affairs, Nay Win.

The minister told KNG that the state government would start providing food rations to residents of the camp from this month. Three toilets have also been provided by the Union Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement.

Most of the IDPs at the Pangmati camp had previously stayed at the Assemblies of God church in Namti after fleeing clashes between the Burma Army and the Kachin Independence Army. However, local authorities told them to leave last year after the area was hit by severe flooding.

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