International donors have failed dismally to respond to humanitarian needs of about 60,000 Kachin villagers displaced along the China border since conflict broke out in northern Burma over a year ago, according to data compiled by the Kachin Women’s Association (KWAT).
From persecution to deprivation, a brief report launched today by KWAT, documents that nearly 60,000 people sheltering in Kachin-controlled areas have received only 4% of their basic food needs from international aid groups, including the UN. About 100,000 have been displaced in total since the Burmese government broke its 17-year ceasefire with the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in June 2011.
Over US$2 million a month is needed to feed the displaced in KIA-controlled areas, who have been kept alive almost entirely by private donations from local and overseas compatriots, a burden which is becoming increasingly untenable. Reliable mechanisms exist to provide aid cross-border through local community-based groups, but these have been shunned by most international donors, who prefer to work with the government.
The humanitarian situation has worsened due to ongoing Burmese military offensives and abuses, which have caused fresh displacement in the past month, including about 10,000 newly displaced in the jade-mining area of Hpakant. There has also been heavy shelling near the Kachin resistance headquarters at Laiza on the China border, endangering thousands of displaced civilians.
KWAT is calling for an immediate end to military offensives against the Kachin, and is urging international donors to coordinate a large-scale relief effort to address the needs of the displaced Kachin along the China-Burma border.
“The world is now pumping massive amounts of aid into Burma, so why are they ignoring the Kachin?” said KWAT coordinator Moon Nay Li.