Over 1,000 Karen refugees who fled from Mae Tha Wor in Karen State to Karen villages close to the border with Thailand after fighting in September face difficulties with food supplies, accommodation and travel.

More than a month ago fighting between Burma Army troops assisted by Border Guard Forces (BGF) and the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (Splinter DKBA) in the area of Mae Tha Wor forced local residents to cross the Thaung Yin River (also known as Moei River) before seeking shelter in the Karen villages of in Binu, Naw Ta, and Htee Thay Khee, close to the border with Thailand.

Ko Htet Aung Linn from the Parahita Student Youth Group said to KIC News: “Relevant organisations came to provide assistance at first after the clashes broke out. Now the number of aid groups is less, so they [the refugees] are facing difficulties. Moreover, it is difficult to provide effective assistance due to difficulties in travelling.”

When the Parahita Student Youth Group took a boat from Mae Tha Wor to Naw Ta Village on 10 October to donate 100 bags of rice, medicine, clothing, and food supplies they were told that they could not continue on to Naw Ta Village to the east of Mae Tha Wor because it was too dangerous as there had been outbreaks of fighting every day in that area.

Some people displaced by the fighting have also crossed the border into Thailand. Rather than staying in refugee camps, they are staying at relatives’ homes. They are in need of tents and are also facing other difficulties and are unable to travel elsewhere.

Initially, when the fighting first broke out in Mae Tha Wor Karen civil society organisations (CSOs) such as the Overseas Karen Refugees’ Social Organisation (OKRSO), the Karen Youth Organisation (KYO), the Karen Women’s Organisation (KWO), and the Overseas Karen Culture Group (OKCG) distributed food supplies to displaced people on both sides of the border, but now those people are receiving far less aid.

Naw Thinzar, a nurse from Myaing Gyi Ngu refugee camp, said: “We went to deliver supplies from Myaing Gyi Ngu camp. There are many inconveniences with food and travelling. There are still cases of being sniped at so they [people] can’t travel safely. It’s dangerous. If the war continues for long, the local residents may face living difficulties.”

There are 952 refugees in Binu Village, 399 refugees in Naw Ta Village and 614 refugees in Htee Thay Khee Village, according to aid groups.

Link: http://www.bnionline.net/news/karen-state/item/2428-refugees-from-mae-tha-wor-facing-difficulties.html