COVID-19 preventative materials from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) reached the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) last week after the international health organization was forced to distribute the aid indirectly
Instead the Kachin Peace-talk Creation Group (PCG) received the supplies from the ICRC and delivered them on July 29. They stepped in after the ICRC was denied permission by the Burmese authorities to provide direct health support to the KIO.
“The ICRC requested permission from the government because they wanted to directly give COVID-19 preventative equipment to the KIO,” Duwa Lamai Gum Ja, who is working with Kachin PCG, told KNG. “The Tatmadaw didn’t allow the ICRC to give the COVID-19 preventative equipment directly to the KIO, but they allowed them to give it through the PCG.”
He said that the Kachin PCG distributed the ICRC’s supplies, which included soap, hand gel, masks, and personal protective equipment, to the KIO.
According to Lamai Gum Ja, the KIO’s status as a non-signatory to the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement with the government and military means that international organizations are not allowed to provide direct assistance to the group.
The KIO’s COVID-19 Prevention Committee chair Sumlut Gam accepted the ICRC’s assistance.