In Kalay Township, some 50,000 people displaced by a brutal clearance campaign by the Burma Army (BA) desperately need emergency food and medicine. Before the junta sent BA soldiers to attack resistance fighters and burn thousands of homes in late April, only 10,000 villagers in the township in Sagaing Region had been affected by the conflict.
A man familiar with the area, who asked that his name not be published, said that the entire population of Nat Chaung, estimated at 10,000 people, had fled the regime’s troops and were now in need of basic food items such as rice. After they fled the approaching BA troops, the army burned down all 2,000 houses in the village.
Soldiers also torched 1,000 houses in Ashay Si and other villages where fighting has broken out on the western bank of the Myit Tha River along the road from Kalay to Gangaw. Heavy clashes took place near Shar Hpo, Yay Shin, Doh Nwe, Tin Thar as well as in the surrounding villages.
Another source, who also requested anonymity, told KNG that some people have sought shelter from the fighting in Buddhist monasteries, with relatives in villages or on farms on the west side of the river, while others are hiding in the jungle. It’s already started raining, but they don’t have enough tarpaulins and plastic to make shelters , he said, explaining that senior citizens and children are the most vulnerable.
Another problem is dirty drinking water, which has made some people sick, said a doctor at the local branch of the People’s Healthcare Network. Yet, the doctor has run out of medicines to treat his more than 100 patients, a third of whom are suffering from diarrhoea and another third from respiratory diseases caused by the bad weather.
The People’s Defence Forces fighting to overthrow the military dictatorship, local youth groups and Buddhist monasteries are helping the displaced civilians with whatever donations they can raise and are calling on the public and the international community to help them.