Displaced and Distressed
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Tuesday, September 21, 2021
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FEATURE

Displaced and Distressed


By PATRICK BOEHLER/ THE IRRAWADDY Saturday, March 17, 2012


Kaw Awm has AIDS and fled her village of Namsam last year. She appears destined to spend her last days at this squalid hospital in Laiza. (PHOTO: Patrick Boehler)
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They don't allow us to bring in a lot, but we have to find a way to get it to the camps.”

Larip said he had learned of nine cases of human trafficking from the IDP camps to China.

"We don't know how they are trafficked to China," he said. "Sometimes it's the local people, sometimes it's even the parents."

The fighting has also strained the KIO's teaching capacity. At Laiza High School, one of three schools in the town, the teaching schedule had to be changed to cater for hundreds of new students when the fighting started.

"Due to the IDP [flood] a lot of children came from the villages, so we had to change the timetable," Secretary of the Central Education Department Yao Sau told me.

Local children now start school at six in the morning, ending at half past 12. Then the IDP students begin their classes at one and end at 5:30.

“The really good students from the IDP classes get moved into the local classes," Yao Sau said.

The IDP flood brought in teachers as well. Thirty-six-year old Hkun San is one of them. Originally from Myitsone, he was a teacher in Bandong village. "I came here when the fighting broke out," he said.

Hkun San is the headmaster of a provisional school in the Je Yang IDP Camp. In a dozen bamboo huts with makeshift bamboo stools and tables, 32 teachers teach 1,063 children. After the 7th grade, some students are allowed to continue their education at the Laiza High School, but for must IDP children schooling ends at age 14. "We prepare to teach grade 8 and 9 next year," he said.

The Laiza Hospital also had to struggle to provide its services to as many of the newcomers as possible. Asked on how many new patients came to his hospital, the head of the Laiza hospital named Major Prang Mai, replied with a forced smile.

They had set up a temporary clinic, which by now has been scaled down to a small room in the Wai Chyai IDP Camp, he said. His hospital caters for those IDPs who sickness is too serious to be treated there.

Kaw Awm, 53, from Namsam village is one of them. She has AIDS and is spending the last days of her life in Major Prang Mai Hospital. Lying in her bed, extremely thin, her eyes are hauntingly sad.

Before the fighting, she used to be a teacher in her village, her 20-year-old son Prang Awng told me. She left in June last year with her two children, a boy and a girl, and found shelter at Laiza's Manau Wang IDP camp. Six days ago, she was brought from the camp to the hospital.

She shared her room with two other terminally ill AIDS patients. The 100-bed hospital is struggling to get basic equipment, some donated years ago by the Japanese embassy in Rangoon, medicine is mostly smuggled from China.

Five minutes drive from the hospital, another IDP is under arrest. Thirty-four-year-old Sang Bu was sitting on a mat along, holding her child, along with a dozen other inmates of the KIO's drug rehabilitation centre.

She left her home in Namsang village in October 2011 and until two weeks ago lived in the Wai Chyai IDP Camp. She was arrested for drug consumption and placed under detention in the centre.

She told me she started using opium a month ago. "I tried to lessen my stomach pains but eventually got too fond of it," she said. "I bought the opium on the Chinese side for 20 yuan [US $3] per dose."

Sang Bu is one of 128 people detained for drug consumption or sale at the center. They can be detained up to six months and are administered gradually lower quantities of drugs, said Assistant Secretary of the Drug Eradication Department Gam Ba.

"Most arrested are from IDP camps," he said. He also employs some IDP as cleaners at the camp.

"What's needed most is food and shelter, nutrition for children and pregnant women," community worker Larip told me.

That evening, just like every other evening in the past six months, thousands of families cook their meals on makeshift fires in crowded camps around Laiza. Most, like Maran Tu Ring, just want to go home.



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Ta Tut Wrote:
20/03/2012
One thing my friend, Ohn, UN people are not just human. They are zombies...

Ohn Wrote:
19/03/2012
It is simple.

If the UN are serious, they condemn the Burmese government.

Security Council should talk about one sided war with hundreds of thousands of soldiers armed by Chinese and Russians via Belarus using the most inhumane atrocities.

Just because the UN members also want the Chinese pipes, rails, ports and roads, they still should stop cruelty if they are still HUMAN.

That's what human does. But sadly there are fewer and fewer of them.

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