Kachin IDPs Endure Bitter Cold Snap on Sino-Burma Border

By Yen Saning 21 December 2015

RANGOON — About 1,800 Kachin internally displaced persons (IDPs), living in makeshift shelters along the Sino-Burma border, are enduring freezing conditions with minimal supplies, aid workers said.

Pictures circulated online show IDP camps at Border Post 6, including Da Bu Bum camp, situated on the Sino-Burma border near Chipwi Township’s Pangwa, covered in snow.

“It’s getting colder these days. Most people stay indoors without going out,” Hing Wawn, head of the Kachin Independence Organization’s IDPs and Refugees Relief Committee (IRRC), told The Irrawaddy.

The displaced are in need of warm clothes, blankets and medicine, according to Hing Wawn, who said the IRRC would travel to Border Post 6 on Monday to assess IDPs’ needs and provide any supplies they can.

Da Bu Bum hosts around 1,000 IDPs and they have enough food supplies until the end of the year, the IRRC head said.

Items most in need are medicines, with some IDPs suffering respiratory problems due to the cold weather.

Zaw Raw, secretary of the IRRC, said people are bracing against the cold weather as best they can. They usually grow vegetables, he said, but this would be impossible in the snow.

Hing Wawn said the organization was still awaiting confirmation for food supplies promised by local and international organizations for nearly 50,000 IDPs sheltering in Kachin Independence Organization-controlled areas for 2016.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said earlier this month that about 1 million people in Burma, including victims of conflict and natural disasters, needed support, citing a shortage of assistance to IDPs in 2015.

Since a 17-year ceasefire between Naypyidaw and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) broke down in 2011, fighting in Kachin and northern Shan states has displaced over 100,000 people.