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Church increases Kachin refugee aid

Continuing fighting could put 'future well-being under threat'

  • ucanews.com reporter, Yangon
  • Myanmar
  • August 10, 2011
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The Catholic Church in Kachin state says it is digging deep to try and help an increasing number of refugees fleeing ongoing clashes between rebel and government forces.

It has also voiced concern for the long-term well-being of displaced people who have been unable to return home after fighting between government troops and the Kachin Independence Army broke out on June 9.

“These people have not been able to earn a living since they ran away from the fighting,” said one Church official in Banmaw who wished to remain anonymous.

Their continued displacement is also affecting their children’s education as they are getting no schooling, he added.

A Church official in Myitkyina, who also wished to remain anonymous, said many refugees in his area are still without shelter and short of food, and their numbers are swelling each day.

There were hopes of a cease-fire agreement being reached recently to end clashes, but a series of ambushes on government forces has increased the air of uncertainty and has left many civilians in an increasingly desperate situation.

“We are trying to help as many people as we can,” said the Banmaw official.

Local authorities have pledged to help with food and we’ve asked them to help provide education support, he said.

We are also collecting food from other villages and are looking to provide more shelters for families in need, he added.

Meanwhile, a Mandalay archdiocese appeal has seen parishioners donate generously to help ease the plight of Kachin refugees.

“We’ve collected about US$ 1,600-worth of supplies so far and sent them already to Myitkyina and Banmaw dioceses,” said the procurator of Mandalay Archdiocese.

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Refugees flee as fighting spreads

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