Internally displaced persons (IDPs) who have resettled to the village of Nam San Yang in Kachin State say that they are in need of basic assistance for another six months until they are able to farm during the rainy season.
Hpaula Gam Hpang, a Kachin singer who is helping the IDPs, said he has sent a petition letter to both the military and the Kachin State government on March 17 asking for help.
“These villagers are going to work on their rotating farms soon, so they will need food until they go to work on their farms,” Hpaula Gam Hpang told KNG. “They also need farming tools. I think the government still needs to provide assistance to these villagers.”
It has been more than a year since the 500 people from 96 families came to Nam San Yang from Kachin State’s IDP camps. More are expected to arrive in April.
They have received little to no assistance in recent months. The returned IDPs have therefore called on the government and army to provide them with foodstuffs such as rice, cooking oil and salt, as well as farming tools, and install electricity and telecommunications infrastructure in the community.
“We have had to start from zero,” Hkawn Ra, who lives in Nam San Yang village, told KNG. “Some villagers have yet to finish fixing their damaged homes. We need food. We also need drinking water. Our water wells had already collapsed. We have already reconstructed a water well. The especially important thing is healthcare. There is not enough medicine in our village. We want the authorities to take care of health in our village.”
Villagers in Nam San Yang fled clashes between the Burma Army and the Kachin Independence Army in 2011. They sought refuge in IDP camps and returned to Nam San Yang in January 2019 with assistance by the Burmese military.
Since they’ve returned, they have also faced threats from landmines, which remain concealed in the area around the village.