Over 20000 Za Yat Gyi IDPs in Htantabin in need of food, medicine

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Caption – Displaced persons from Za Yat Gyi (Photo – CJ)

More than 20,000 locals who were forced to seek refuge in Taungoo after fighting broke out on 7 February in Za Yat Gyi town in Htantabin Township, Taungoo District, Bago Region, are currently in need of food and medicine, according to people helping the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and residents of Taungoo.

A local woman who is helping the IDPs said, “The donations come not only from Taungoo but also from Yangon. But since there are more than 20,000 IDPs, many places have not received donations yet. Among the displaced children are 2 to 3-month-old babies to 3 to 4-year-old children. There are also many elderly people and those in poor health. Ointments and cough medications are especially needed for the elderly.”

Currently, the IDPs are housed in religious buildings in Taungoo. Although the townspeople and civilian aid groups are doing their best to support them, food and medicine are still needed for more than 20,000 IDPs, she said.

During the fighting between the combined forces of the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) and the military council forces, the military junta bombarded Za Yat Gyi and surrounding villages with air and artillery strikes. As a result, residents were displaced and sought refuge in downtown Taungoo amid the unstable situation.

As there are no dedicated IDP camps, some of them are living in makeshift tents in the religious compounds. They want to return to their homes, but do not dare to risk their lives returning because of the presence of junta soldiers in the town, according to IDP aid workers.

“There are no dedicated IDP camps. They are housed in tents on monastery compounds. Some IDPs have no place to stay. The places where they used to live have been burned down. Some do not dare to return because of the presence of junta soldiers. In fact, they want to go back home,” said a displaced woman from Taungoo.

Following the attack by the military council on civilian areas in Za Yat Gyi, an ethnic Pa-O area, more than 100 locals, including women, were killed and many civilian houses were burned down, according to a statement by the Pa-O National Federal Council (PNFC).

Khun Myint Tun, chairman of the PNFC, said: “In some places, the bodies have not yet been recovered. The aerial bombardments took place in the town center. These areas were burned down and many people were killed or injured. We will continue to take action on these matters.”

The PNFC said it would work with the international community and revolutionary forces to bring the military council to justice for these war crimes and hold them to account.

According to a statement issued by the Karen National Union (KNU) on 18 January, there were over 20,000 IDPs in Taungoo District in KNU Brigade 2, as of the end of December 2023.

Sent by KIC.

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