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IDPs Return To Homes in Kachin State

Civilians displaced by fighting in Kachin State have returned home because they do not have enough food in the internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps after the military council locked down the country because of the latest COVID-19 outbreak.

About fifty families uprooted by fighting between the military and Kachin Independence Army (KIA) have returned to Nuam Lan, Momauk Township. They started returning from several different camps on July 6, with the last family to arrive on Wednesday.

One person told KNG at the camp they have rice, but no firewood to cook their meals. Without money, the source said they can not buy vegetables. “At home, we do not need to buy vegetables” because they can grow them or find in the jungle.

The problem started after authorities restricted residents from leaving and barring everyone else from entering the camps.

Four hundred people or half of the population of Nuam Lan have already returned. The person that KNG spoke with said they did not bring the seniors with them because did not know if it was safe for them to return to the village.

When the Burma Army (BA) launched an offensive against the KIA in April, only ten families stayed in the village. Everyone else, including residents from Myo Thit and Konlaw villages, sought safety from the violence in Bhamo and Momauk towns.

A resident in charge of an IDP camp in Hka Nan ward in Momauk, said since the lockdown started two weeks ago things are much worse than before, with everyone facing food insecurity. “No one is allowed to leave the camp for day work, and they haven’t received their monthly stipend for two months. There have been no other donors to assist in the IDP camp.”

Making matters worse, COVID-19 was detected in several camps in Bhamo, Myitkyina and Waingmaw townships.

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