Arakan State Govt’s Attempt to Help IDPs Gets Critical Reception

By Su Myat Mon 27 May 2016

RANGOON — Despite pledges from the Arakan State government to allocate more money toward helping the state’s internally displaced persons (IDPs), some see it as coming up short.

According to a Facebook announcement on Thursday, the regional government said that it would spend some 870 million kyats (more than US$732,700) to build temporary schools and to aid families living in the 385 buildings housing the state’s IDPs.

Min Aung, spokesman for the Arakan State government, said that it has yet to be determined when the plan will go into effect, but that 100 million kyats (US$84,220) will be used to build five schools and that 200,000 kyats (US$168) will be given to each IDP household.

However, some have voiced frustration with the announcement as well as skepticism about the plan’s potential to actually improve the situation of IDPs.

Kyaw Lwin, a lawmaker with the Arakan National Party (ANP) for Kyaukphyu Township, said that on May 11 he submitted a proposal to the state parliament aimed at helping IDPs but that details were not discussed, though lawmakers unanimously supported the proposal.

“They should’ve let us know [about this plan], seeing as how we’re lawmakers. But it seems as if they don’t care about us,” Kyaw Lwin told The Irrawaddy.

Kyaw Tha Maung, who lives with his five children in an IDP camp in Ponnagyun Township, emphasized the urgency of the help needed, particularly regarding access to schools.

“There has been no help yet with providing schooling. We need this,” Kyaw Tha Maung said.

Khine Kaung San, who works with the WanLark Foundation, an organization that focuses on rural education, community development and disaster emergency response, said that 200,000 kyats is a small amount of money and that the government should funnel more toward IDPs.

“Giving more money to displaced persons would preserve the dignity of the government,” Khine Kaung San said.