05/08/2022 Myanmar (International Christian Concern) – The Burmese Army (Tatmadaw) has not stopped its attacks against the people of Myanmar since it staged a coup last February in the hope of toppling the civilian government led by Aung Sang Suu Kyi.
In recent weeks, Sagaing, Chin, southeastern Karen, and Mon states continued to see escalated fighting between the Tatmadaw and local defense groups. Just last weekend, more than 12,000 ethnic Karen in Myanmar’s southeastern Karen and Mon states were forced to flee their homes as the junta continued its air strikes and mortar shelling.
According to David Eubank, founder of Free Burma Rangers, a group that has served the predominantly Christian ethnic Karen for decades, families are hiding in caves as their homes burn while the military air strikes and mortar attacks continue. As of May 3, around 8,000 Karen villagers are hiding in the Bilin area, Mon state. He said the military air strikes displaced 12,000 people in the period from April 29 to May 1.
UCA News reports that the Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG) pointed out that these villagers fear returning home and worry about their houses being burned down.
“The fleeing villagers are now facing acute security and health challenges, especially newborn babies and pregnant women, and are in need of humanitarian aid,” KHRG said.
At least 150,000 people have already been displaced in Karen state alone, and they are in desperate need of food, medicine, and shelter, according to the aid groups.
In a May 3 statement, UN Secretary General’s special envoy on Myanmar, Noeleen Heyzer, said, “In Myanmar’s currently violent, unstable and insecure context, effective delivery of humanitarian aid requires firm commitment by all aid actors to adhere to international humanitarian law.”
UN’s April data shows that the ongoing conflict has displaced more than 566,100 people, with a further 34,500 people seeking refuge across the border in India and 1,600 in Thailand.
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