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Storage warehouses needed for Kachin refugee camps

New Delhi (Mizzima) – Warehouses for storing rice, medicine, and drinking water are badly needed for war refugees on the Sino-Burma border, say refugee workers recently returned from the isolated area.

A Kachin refugee carries humanitarian aid donations from the U.N.  Photo: U.N.Bo Bo, aka Moe Kyaw Thu, who is with the White Hand-in-Hand aid group, said storage facilities in the Manwein refugee camp in Manhsi Township are at risk.

“We badly need warehouses there for storing rice,” he said. He told Mizzima that relief workers there worry that current supplies will be damaged in the coming rainy season. Some refugee camps on the border also have problems storing drinking water, he said.

His group left Rangoon on April 29 for the border area. They also visited the Nanhtaung, Ahchay and Nganaungpa refugee camps.

The area is malaria prone and incidents of diarrhea are widespread, he said.

“We saw more than 900 refugees in the Manwein camp alone,” he said. “There are only four medics for these refugees. The medical expenses for each patient cost more than 100,000 kyat (US$ 122). They run the clinics with inadequate medical supplies. Two children and one adult have died of cholera and gastroenteritis. There are many cases of illness."

He estimated that there are more than 3,000 refugees in the four camps. Some children are malnourished, and they need special nutrient and high protein foods, he said.

He said parents were also worried about the education of their children in the camps, and in the future.

“The schools in their villages were demolished and burnt down,” he said. Secure areas in Kachin State are also diminishing, he said, as fighting has increased in recent months.

The relief group provided 1,500 items of clothing and 2 million kyat (US$ 2,439) in cash as relief supplies. He said people from across Burma donated toys, dolls, children’s clothes and a small supply of medicine for these refugees.

Renewed fighting erupted in June 2011 between government troops and the Kachin Independence Army. Numbers vary, but some relief groups say there may be 70,000 war refugees in the camps along the border.
Last Updated ( Thursday, 03 May 2012 14:43 )  
The Kachin’s last stand
Since October this year, Burma has been in a state of civil war, with fighting between Burmese military and armed ethnic rebels. The ruling junta started a crackdown on these armed groups.

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