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06/14/2021 Myanmar (International Christian Concern) – With the ongoing fighting by the Burmese army (Tatmadaw) against civilians in Kayah State, tens of thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) are now facing famine and humanitarian emergency.

“We are very sad and worried to find ourselves in this critical situation. Our peaceful lives are destroyed in the state of Kayah. There are no human rights and freedom. People flee to safe places due to armed conflicts. We have lost everything,” says Father Celso Ba Shwe, Vicar General of the diocese of Loikaw, to Agenzia Fides, a Catholic news portal.

The widespread violence reminds the priest of the nightmares of the civil war that lasted from 1948 to 2012 in the state of Kayah. This time it seems worse with no place safe in Kayah. According to him, as of June 7, 2021, 23 camps for internally displaced persons have been set up and about 45,000 displaced persons are under the care of the Catholic Church of Loikaw.

Father Celso is concerned about the imminent famine, given that all access to food, goods and gasoline from outside the State of Kayah are blocked by the Tatmadaw. There are already shortages of food and gasoline but going around is very risky. The rainy season is making the matter worse.

Kayah state is a stronghold of Catholicism in Myanmar. It has a population of 355,000, three quarters of whom belong to ethnic groups. There is an estimate of 90,000 Catholics.

For interviews, please contact Addison Parker: [email protected].