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About five thousand Myanmar war refugees in China are facing difficulties

About five thousand Myanmar war refugees in China are facing difficulties

According to the fleeing people and their family members, about 5,000 Burmese war refugees fleeing from Chinswehaw town in Kokhant region to the Maintein border in China due to the ongoing fighting in northern Shan State were moved by the Chinese authorities last night on November 2 from a temporary relief camp to an old covid inspection center near Maintein.

He said, “Currently, we are living in a room. I heard that it was originally a building where they had Covid centers. They said that the whole camp was moved by cars at night. There is a possibility of another big battle in Chinshwehaw City, so we are moving again."

When we contacted two Myanmar war victims who were in a temporary relief camp on the Chinese side on the night of November 2, they said that they had been on the Chinese side since the fighting began on October 27.

According to people at the relief camp, among the five thousand people fleeing to the Chinese side, there are around seven hundred children, and they are having trouble getting drinking water and food. "Because there is not enough water, here they are drinking the boiled water given to them for bathing, and some of them are suffering from diarrhea. Many people get drunk and forget about their health. Drinking water is limited. They don't give to donors who come from outside. It is guarded by the Chinese police and army.”

Ko Sai said that among those war refugees, in addition to the residents of Chinshwehaw, residents of North Shan and migrant workers from Yangon, Mandalay, Kachin State, Sagaing Region, and Rakhine state are also included. He said that the Chinese authorities have provided blue tents for war refugees to live in, and five to ten people live together in one tent.

A refugee from the war on the Chinese side said that they are given two meals a day for food, but the rice dishes are not suitable for eating. "The food is uncomfortable to eat. As for eggs and tomatoes, they have been fed for two days. On the first day, my sister and I had this food. We can't eat the egg and tomato served today. We can only eat white rice. Sometimes we can't eat white rice. The sweat is flying, and it stinks. Many people can't eat pork on the days they feed it. We can't even cook it ourselves. I was going to order some bread from outside so the police wouldn't know. In the case of theft, the police saw the bread card and the water card and confiscated everything. They don't let us eat it; I just bought it with my own money." Ma Htoo Htoo said that women's items and personal items are also difficult because they don't get help.

Ko Sai, who lives in the refugee camp, said that on the afternoon of November 2, the refugees collectively asked the Chinese authorities to get food and water, but the Chinese police and army forced them to disperse.

The China-Myanmar border used to have Myanmar phone lines, but since the fighting, phone lines and internet lines have been cut.

He said that most of the refugees are unable to contact their families because the Chinese police keep the phones of Myanmar nationals inside China. Some said they had to use nearby Chinese phones to contact family members.

The refugees want to be allowed to move from the Chinese refugee camp to the refugee camp in Namtit, which is controlled by the UWSA "Wa" force on the Myanmar side. If they are not allowed to move there, the Chinese authorities should provide them with enough drinking water and food.

Ko Yan Naing, the information officer of the MNDAA Koekant Force, said that according to the current fighting conditions, the refugees may have difficulty returning to their homes. “As far as our organization can reach, we help and take care of refugees around the battlefield. Currently, during the operation, it is quite difficult to cross this Union Highway to return to our territory.”

Due to the fighting in the North Shan region, there are around 10,000 refugees in the Namtit region controlled by the UWSA "Wa" force, on the other side of Chinshwehaw, there are around five thousand refugees in the Maintein city in China, and more than 10,000 refugees in the towns of the northern Shan region, including Hsenwi, Lashio, Kunlong, Monekoe, in total, more than 25,000 refugees have fled their homes.

Residents said that due to the disruption of road communication due to the fighting, there is no help for the refugees.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA-Myanmar) said in a press release yesterday, November 2, that there are battles in at least nine of the 22 townships in northern Shan State, and the number of refugees has increased to more than twenty-three thousand.


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