top of page

People are dying because of illnesses.

People are dying because of illnesses.

Those in charge of the military evacuation camp are warning that during the rainy season this year, women and children fleeing from the war in the jungles are getting sick and dying. As the rainy season is coming, the refugees are dying because they are affected by the insecurity of shelters, blankets, warm clothes, medicine, and insufficient health workers.

300 of the 5,000 people who fled the war are sick, and three women and two children have died in these two months in Shweku township, Bhamo District, Kachin State. U Zaw Aung, in charge of the camp, said, "Hundreds and thousands are sick here. Especially in women. They are weak and feverish. There is no medicine, and they can't eat well because it is in the forest. It's been more than a month since it started raining, and they're sick."

Two-thirds of the population in this refugee camp are women, and most of the adults and children are facing the problem of malaria prevalence and insufficient medicine. Malaria is caused by the malaria virus entering the human body through a mosquito bite. Health workers said that mosquitoes that have bitten an infected person can spread malaria if they bite another person. It is said that malaria is common among refugees living in forests because these mosquitoes live in streams, rivers, and forests, and bite at night when it is dark. In Shweku Township, the military coup army and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), the People’s Defense Forces (PDF) are fighting, and nearly ten thousand residents in the east and west of the Ayeyarwaddy River are avoiding the war.

About half of those who fled the war are sheltering in the homes of their relatives in the city, and the remaining five thousand are sheltering in the forests. It’s been more than two months, the war refugees have been living without enough food, and drink and in the small huts built in the forests without shelters. Amidst these inconveniences, most of the women and children became sick and died due to lack of medicine, heavy rains, and colder weather than usual.

Daw Thin Maw’s daughter, who fled the war from Sithaung Village in Shwe Ku Township, also died because her five-year-old daughter had malaria and did not get enough medicine. The mother, Daw Thin Maw said sadly, "There is no medicine here. There is a donation of medicine, but only fever medicine. It's really painful to die because there is no medicine.” Daw Thin Maw doesn't even have home remedies like cough medicine. Due to the incompleteness of these medicines, patients who have pre-existing diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease are facing many difficulties. This is because the military coup army wants to oppress Kachin state militarily and has restricted the purchase of medicine and rice. They are allowed only once a month to bring by showing the medical book. However, there are many challenges for the refugees going from the forest to the city. No one could say for sure that accidentally, there are mines, and would be captured along the line or killed.

At the beginning of last year, CDM doctors and nurses who brought medicine to Chin State were arrested by the army and one of them was killed during interrogation, so no one dared to bring medicine. U Zaw Aung explained "A military evacuation camp is not as complete as a home. But as far as the catarrh, cough medicine is concerned, it should be given. Now they are arresting everyone if they find medicine or rice.” It is an impossible situation for the refugees to go home and get food at this time. Because the military council’s army burned down their houses and took away the rice they had collected, also the rice mill, and the barns were burned.

U Zaw Aung said that pregnant women are facing the problem of giving birth prematurely and giving birth due to insufficient nutrition. Mother Daw Lamai, who just gave birth a few months ago, explained, "The children born without nutrition are small, and not full pounds. Even if they are born with disabilities, big heads, small bodies, no anus, etc.” Additionally, pregnant mothers are facing the problem of having a difficult birth due to the many things they have to worry about food, and when the bomb is thrown. U Zaw Aung said that there is still a need for help for refugees even though those in charge of the camp and help workers are helping. There is little support for the refugees because there is no connection with external organizations.

According to the list of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), almost 20,000 people are fleeing the war in Shweku township, Kachin State, and stated that food, medicine, and health care are needed. Similarly, in Chin State, 33-year-old Ma Mu Mu and seven-year-old Ma Jur Lay died due to dengue fever and a lack of medicine and doctors. The victims are those who live in the mountains and avoid war due to the battles between the military coup army and the Chin Defense Forces (CDF). Jue Lay’s mother, Daw Hnin Nwe said, "If I take medicine for a common illness, it will go away. That day, she had a cold and was very sick. After that, she continued to vomit without eating. In the evening, she lost consciousness. They said she died of dengue." The person in charge of the refugee camp concluded that the death was due to the weather getting colder and its rainy season, the shelter is not safe, the lack of medical supplies, and insufficient medical staff.

During the previous government, the Ministry of Social Welfare Relief and Resettlement, drug-absorbing mosquito nets, insecticides added to the pond, and mosquito repellents were also sprayed. U San Ni, in charge of the war evacuation camp, said that after 2020, due to the political instability caused by COVID-19, those who avoid war in the forests have to live in these mosquito traps, and find it difficult to get medicine. A doctor commented that dengue fever is caused by mosquito bites, it is common due to consumption of impure water, and it reoccurs like an epidemic every two or three years. At the current camp, doctors, since there are no doctors and nurses at all, health care for the refugees is provided by paramedics who were trained by the CDF-Matupi.

U San Ni said that there are about 150 families and over 1,000 people taking shelter in this military evacuation camp. Most of the refugees are women, and nearly a hundred adults are sick, including children. The adults are looking for food in the forest, so they often get malaria, and most of the children have dengue fever.

Three or four families of refugees live in sheltered huts, and there is only one toilet for about 1,000 refugees and a temporary lake has been placed. Daw Hnin Nwe said, "When it rains, garbage falls into the lake, and it is not clean. There is only one toilet per hundred people. There are a lot of mosquitoes in the forest. And then climate change will cause them to get sick."

According to the list released by the Chin Health Organization (CHO), Chin State had 20 malaria patients in 2022, but within three months of 2023, there were 40 malaria patients, and the incidence of malaria was the highest in Kanpetlet, Mutupi, and Mindat Townships. A CDM doctor said that people fleeing the war from some townships are suffering from malaria and dengue fever, and there are also deaths.

The prevalence of malaria and dengue fever has spread to the point of death because there are no mosquito nets in the forests, and due to insufficient medicine. Therefore, the doctor warned that there is a need for mosquito net donors, otherwise, it would be like picking a frog with a tattered bag.

Currently, there is a special need for drinking water, food, shelter, personal items, and medicines for Chin refugees. Since last year (2022), the coup army has also made a four-cuts approach to Chin State, where the war is fierce with them. Currently, Chin State is designated as a dangerous area to travel. Since the army is stationed around 84 miles between Mutupi-Mindat, the Chin Defense Force (Mutupi) has also issued notices not to use the Mintupi-Mindat road.

According to the People’s Defense Forces, additionally, there are more illnesses and deaths among refugees than last year, in Dawei City, Thanintharyi Region. A traveling CDM doctor said, "This year, almost all adults and children get sick. According to the record of our treatment, there are more than last year. They get sick due to weakness and seasonal changes. There is not enough medicine there, and it leads to death.”

According to the data, only four refugees had malaria in the forest east of Dawei City last year, 2022, and this year, at least two people in every refugee camp are sick. Dawei is also an area where there are intense battles with the military coup army. Due to the battles between the military council’s army and the Dawei PDF, the locals have been living in the forests for more than two years. The refugees who were sick died because there were not enough food, nurses, medicines, and doctors.

There are about one hundred families and nearly five hundred people taking refuge in the military evacuation camp on the east side of Dawei City. Of these, nearly a hundred people are sick, and one woman and three children have died in more than two months due to malaria and seasonal flu. Daw Tin Aye, a refugee, said "My sister also died of malaria. She had no history of malaria. The medic who passed by said it was malaria. However, they also do not have medicine. That's why she died." She said that she is also worried about her children every day as adults and children are getting sick and dying.

Additionally, Severe malaria can lead to brain infection and death, and the rainy season is the peak season for malaria transmission, so the refugees need medicine and doctors. Everything for the living and food of the refugees like Daw Tin Aye is supported by donors. In terms of health, medical teams traveling to refugee camps and medical personnel from PDF units are providing medical care. The CDN doctor said, "We provide treatment from the side that we can afford, but it's quite difficult because we don't get medicine. We don't get both medicine and injections. The army can't carry more than five bags of rice and a person can only take two Paracetamol cards. Isn't it different from killing sick people?"

Due to rising commodity prices and seizures, it is difficult to buy medicine, and the seasonal flu vaccine costs about 30,000 kyats per unit. It is difficult to buy medicine because there is no money, and it is not easy to transport. He explained, "If you have malaria, you must treat it to make sure it goes away. Otherwise, the virus will spread throughout the body and cause dizziness, there will be vomiting, and loss of food. And then died. That's why we need to get medicine quickly."

Currently, Dawei and Thayetchaung townships are being heavily patrolled by the military council’s army, so the number of refugees is increasing every day, and there is an urgent need for food, shelter, and medical aid. Seasonal flu, malaria, and dengue are not only happening in these areas, but in Kayin, Kayah, Mon, and Rakhine have also been sick and dying in the refugee camps, where the war is intense with the military council.

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), in the more than two years since the coup, there are more than 1.6 million people who have been displaced by war.

Source by _ HI Honest Information


bottom of page