As many as 5,000 people who have fled fighting in northern Shan State are in desperate need of aid, according to the Taaung Women’s Organisation.

There is no food to feed them at the nine camps they have fled to, the organisation said. The 4,000 to 5,000 internally displaced persons are at nine IDP camps in three northern townships of the state’s Taaung (Palaung) ethnic region.

They have fled fighting between the Taaung National Liberation Army (TNLA) and Union government troops that began last year.  Fighting intensified in June, when more than 20 skirmishes broke out between the two armies.  There have been at least two more firefights this month, residents said.

“There are nine camps in Mongton, Nanhkan and Kutkai townships with between 4,000 and 5,000 people [in total] now living in them. Shelters in the camps are not suitable for the rainy season and people in them have to find a way to pay for food,” said De De Poe Kyein, a member of the Taaung Women’s Organisation. “No one is helping them,” she said.

An information officer with the TNLA said no international assistance had reached the camps. Peace talks between the Union government and the TNLA were held in July last year. Representatives of both sides discussed cease-fire arrangements, opening of liaison offices, unarmed visits between armies, and a Union level meeting. The talks failed and fighting broke out.

Last year there were more than 100 skirmishes and there have been 70 so far this year, the TNLA said. Troops on both sides have been killed or wounded, but the numbers are unknown.