Burma

Wounded Myanmar Civilians Evacuated after Being Trapped for 10 Days

By Kyaw Kha & Lawi Weng 26 August 2019

After being trapped for 10 days by fighting in northern Shan State, two wounded civilians in urgent need of medical treatment were transported to a hospital on Monday, according to sources in Kutkai Township.

Both of the civilians required surgery to treat leg wounds. They were taken from Mong Yu village to a hospital in Kutkai town on Sunday, before being transferred to Lashio on Monday.

“We just transferred two of them to Lashio this morning for treatment,” said Kham Mat, a local aid worker helping internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Kutkai town.

Mai Aike Ywan and Lom Awng San both sustained leg wounds after being shot while driving motorbikes in separate incidents on Aug. 18.

No one dared to attempt to evacuate the victims, as intense fighting has raged for more than a week near Mong Yu village. However, some local rescue teams were able to reach the village on Sunday as the fighting in the area eased.

Rescue teams were also able to evacuate two other victims— an old man and a girl—who were wounded on Aug. 24 when artillery shells struck their house in Mong Yu.

Daw Khin Khin Aye, a resident of Mong Yu, added that two Ta’ang villagers in the Nampakar area were shot and wounded on Aug. 24.

Fighting broke out there on Monday morning, she said. “We could hear their artillery firing this morning. It wasn’t very far from our village.”

Artillery shells often land near Mong Yu, especially at night. No one dares to leave the village, fearing they will be caught up in the fighting between the military and armed groups.

The Myanmar Army used helicopters to back up ground forces during intense fighting in Nampakar on Aug. 24, Daw Khin Khin Aye said.

IDPs continue to arrive in Kutkai town, according to local sources, who added that local aid workers had opened five IDP camps in the town.

“We have almost 2,000 IDPs in the town,” Kham Mat said.

Fighting continued on Monday in parts of Kutkai and Muse townships, but some rescue vehicles were able to reach IDPs.

The number of IDPs has reached almost 4,000 in northern Shan State. The refugees are from Lashio, Hseni and Kutkai townships.

Rice shortage

Transportation has been cut off since Aug. 18 in the Kutkai area, and four villages are experiencing shortages of rice: Kaung Khar, Mann Pein, Pang Nin and Mann Loi.

Because of the fighting, no vehicles can travel in the area, including private cars. As a result, people cannot buy rice. This has become a serious issue for local trapped by fighting.

Those four villages are between Kutkai and Nampakar.

The problem is particularly serious for day laborers, who are paid a daily wage and don’t have money to store rice in their homes.

Daw Taung Ye, a local villager, said, “There are only two shops in the village that sell rice, but they have run out. So we are relying on the supplies we have, including noodles,” she said.

One elderly woman who went to pick vegetables near a river was killed when she stepped on a landmine on Aug. 24, she said, adding, “We don’t dare go swimming anymore. We just use rainwater.”

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