Kachin civil society organizations (CSOs) want to cooperate with the government to prevent the spread of the covid-19 pandemic in villages across Kachin State.
Brang Awng, from Kachin State Conservation Working Group, told KNG the government will have its own programs but may be challenged by an information scarcity on the village-level and this is where the CSOs can help.
“It will be very difficult for the government to know what’s happening in the villages but CSOs can get detailed information very easily from these areas. If we work together we can create an effective strategy,” Brang Awng said at a recent press conference at the University Christian Fellowship (UCF).
CSOs in Kachin State met a day after the state government announced the formation of a state-level working committee on March 25 to address the threat of the covid-19 pandemic.
A letter was sent to the President’s Office demanding transparency about its strategy for addressing the coronavirus threat and for a separate fund established to support grassroot efforts to combat the virus.
It also demanded that border checkpoints with China used at night to transport bananas by truck are closed.
Ashin Wizaya, an abbot of Wah Shawng monastery in Waingmaw township that attended the press conference told KNG many people are worried about the Chinese banana tissue farms operating in Kachin State. “All universities and colleges have cancelled the last two days of examinations. I don’t understand why the Kachin State government can’t decide about this banana issue,”
The monk said trucks carrying fruit from the banana tissue farms cross the Kambaiti border checkpoint at night. “I heard vehicles around 11:30 pm last night. I couldn’t sleep and I took a video and sent it to the Kachin state municipal minister.”
Ashin Wizaya was told by the minister he doesn’t have the power to shut down the border checkpoints unless ordered by the Union government.
There are five confirmed cases of covid-19 in Burma from individuals returning from the UK and USA.
In Kachin State, there are several cases under investigation, according to the ministry of health and sports.