KNG talked with Mr Zet, head of the Kachin Backpack Health Worker Team (KBHWT), to learn about how his organisation is helping villagers living in the Bumra Yang internally displaced persons (IDP) camp. In March, over 130 families fled to the camp during fighting between Kachin Independence Army and Burma Army in N’jang Yang Township, Kachin State.
Can you tell us about the situation for residents living in Bumra Yang?
The IDPs need emergency aid. Individual donors and organizations have provided some assistance but they need more help. With the rainy season on its way, they could face difficulties if their plastic roofs break from heavy rain. They don’t have enough clean water. The water they have will get dirty when it rains. They are already suffering from diarrhoea and sicknesses after drinking the polluted water. It is better to help them now before the monsoon season starts.
When fighting happened why did some flee to Myitkyina and others to Bumra Yang?
Burma Army blocked all the entry roads to Myitkyina, making it difficult to travel there. They went to the safest place they could reach.
What do they need most?
They mainly need clean water. But they also need proper shelters and a toilet. The camp is located in a remote area and it is difficult to travel there. Children are suffering from diarrhoea and worms. Elderly people suffer from high blood pressure and exhaustion. In the camp, there are also pregnant women and mothers with children under 5-years-old who are breastfeeding. We must pay attention to their health needs.
Please explain more about what KBHWT does?
Mainly we provide medical aid and medicines to Kachin people living in remote areas. And not only for IDPs in Bumra Yang area, we also help others living in far off regions of the state as much as we can. Since the political crisis affected our country we have stepped up efforts to provide medical aid to our people.