More than 500 internally displaced people (IDPs) who have sought refuge in a village in Lashio Township, northern Shan State, are short on food and water, volunteers said.

The 546 IDPs are staying in Enai village, and come from the villages of Pang Hong, Mang Pying and Loi Tauk in Lashio Township and Nam Ket village in Namtu Township. They came to Enai after hearing gunshots at around 9:00 a.m. on Monday; the Burma Army and members of the Northern Alliance of ethnic armed groups have been engaged in intensifying fighting in northern Shan State for months.

They fled because they were afraid of clashes occurring around their village. These IDPs need drinking water and food. Some children don’t have warm clothing, Enai village headman Sai Aung Myint told SHAN.

He said the IDPs were accompanied by representatives from local civil society organizations and arrived at around 3:00 p.m. on the same day they left their homes.

They told me that artillery weapons opened fire from Namtu. It was not two sides engaging in a firefight, Sai Aung Myint said. We are closely monitoring the situation on the ground there. We are observing it to see whether the IDPs can return home.

The Giving Hands social team was one of the groups that helped bring the villagers to safety.

79499026 1296807090498748 1278866154932142080 nThey called me by phone. They requested that we bring them out from the village because they were so worried about clashes. We brought villagers from four villages, an individual working with Giving Hands told SHAN.

The IDPs are currently staying in Enai’s monastery.

During recent weeks, they said that Burma Army soldiers had checked their ID cards and the mobile phones of people around Enai village tract and those in villages between Lashio and Namtu.

Many of the villagers currently seeking refuge in Enai also fled their communities last year because of military tension between the Burma Army and ethnic armed groups.

Source: The Shan Herald Agency for News