This story has been changed to clarify that Chit Thu Wai’s trip to Wan Hai and international humanitarian aid efforts to those displaced were not carried out in coordination with one another.">
Steve Tickner
[gallery type="slideshow" ids="102269,102270,102271,102272,102273,102274,102275,102276,102277,102278,102279,102280,102281,102282,102283"] WAN HAI, Kyethi Township, Shan State — On a day that also saw several humanitarian aid convoys arrive in the region surrounding this besieged Shan rebel headquarters, well-known Burmese singer and actress Dr. Chit Thu Wai made a morale-boosting visit on Thursday to several camps for civilians displaced by the conflict. Along with a number of small national and regional NGOs, members of the 88 Generation Peace and Open Society, and donors from Mon State and Rangoon, Chit Thu Wai paid visits to some of the thousands of people displaced by fighting in central Shan State that began on Oct. 6, pitting the Shan State Army-North (SSA-N) against the Burma Army. The actress-physician delivered aid in the form of clothing, food, medical supplies and educational materials to the many IDPs at the Wan Wa and Haipa displacement camps, as well as offering moral support and occasional medical advice as needed. The International Red Cross and UN organizations including the World Food Program and Unicef were also on hand, independent of Chit Thu Wai, to offer humanitarian assistance. Lee Chuin Chang, an ethnic Kokang businessman, and the 88 Generation group have opened and supplied a medical center at Haipa to assist the IDPs. Dr. Moe Myint Kyaw, a volunteer medical practitioner from Irrawaddy Division, told The Irrawaddy that some patients in the camps are beginning to suffer from ailments often associated with living conditions in which hygiene standards are low. He described rising cases of diarrhea, skin allergies and rashes caused by poor hygiene, as well as an uptick in cases of influenza and a few isolated cases of malaria. Camp sanitation and hygiene officer Min Kyaw, who works with PKU Rescue, an NGO, said the camp at Haipa currently houses almost 1,500 people, with more arriving every day. Discussing her motivations for making the trip this week, Chit Thu Wai said she felt moved to reach out in a show of solidarity with her compatriots. “This is our land together, so this is like my family suffering. I wanted to come and show the people here that I do care for them and will always be here for them.” This story has been changed to clarify that Chit Thu Wai’s trip to Wan Hai and international humanitarian aid efforts to those displaced were not carried out in coordination with one another.

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