More than 60,000 refugees need help in upper Sagaing
At least 60,000 war refugees in five townships near Kachin State in Upper Sagaing Division need food and other basic assistance. They are from Indaw, Katha, Tigyaing, Banmauk, Wuntho, and Kawlin townships. Since 2022, the local People's Defense Forces (PDF), the Kachin Liberation Army (KIA), and the military council forces have been fighting each other in those areas. The refugees said that especially when the military council troops entered the villages, the rural people had to take refuge in villages close to the mountains and forests that would be safe. Since April 2023, the military council army has been stationed in Nantthar Village, west of Indaw Township.
According to those helping refugees, nearly 5,000 residents of six villages, including the villagers of Nantthar, people from the surrounding area, Inpin, Aungkone, Mawteik, Ywatharyar, Kyuntaw, have been fleeing for more than four months. A refugee aid worker, who did not want to be named, said that it is difficult for them to get medicine as well as food because of the rainy season.
The military council forces are stationed there, so the refugees have to avoid farming and move to other areas. It’s been more than three or four months. He said that during the rainy season, influenza is common, and blankets and mosquito nets are mainly needed to take care of their health. Those helping refugees said that since August 28, nearly 8,000 residents have fled after the military council raided five villages, including Bantbwaykone, Inndayant, and Doneawt in Katha Township.
A refugee aid worker, who did not want to be named, said that they don't stay in the forest for a long time, and go back to the village. When the military council troops come, they have to run away again. Reportedly, since the end of August this year, more than 3,000 residents from 20 villages near Gangaw mountain, Tigyaing township, have needed help because they have been forced to flee to the mountains and forests. According to the People's Defense Forces, more than 40,000 refugees who have been fleeing since April 2022 in Banmauk Township have not been able to return to their villages.
According to those helping refugees, since September 2022, more than 7,000 residents from seven villages have been unable to return to their villages and have been wandering around and taking shelter in other villages and forest edges in Kawlin Township. A refugee aid worker, who did not want to be named, said that due to the loss of communication about the war victims in Kawlin, people from outside don’t know much about the news in their area, and not enough help is coming.
In Sagaing, public administration organizations use 10 percent of the tax money collected from local businesses for war victims, but those who help refugees say that it is not enough.
According to the list of August of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, nearly 800,000 people have fled their homes in Sagaing after the military coup.