Kachin people living around Alaw Bum haven’t been able to work on their farms since the military launched a massive offensive to retake the strategically important mountain peak from the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), which seized it from the junta last spring.
”During the planting season, we couldn’t work on our farm because we fled the fighting, and now we need help to survive,” says a farmer from Nuam Lang in Momauk Township. Villagers from Konlaw, Myothit and Nawng Ein are also struggling.
”Next year we expect to start sowing again. We ask donors to support us so that we can survive the next three to four months,” he explained to KNG.
Starting in March, Burma Army (BA) launched multiple airstrikes on KIA positions on top of Alaw Bum and surrounding villages for two months, displacing thousands of civilians at the start of the planting period. Most people sought shelter from the conflict in Momauk and Bhamo towns.
Despite the massive effort, BA failed to drive the Kachin soldiers from the mountain.
Although the clashes in the region have ended, the farmers haven’t earned an income for months.
Many of the ”IDPs (internally displaced persons) returned to their homes because they were afraid of contracting the virus in the camps. However, they couldn’t farm because BA soldiers were stationed near their villages,” said a man who went home after the airstrikes.