Thousands of IDPs Seek Refuge in Shan State Monasteries

More than 2,000 people have sought refuge in northern Shan State monasteries because of ongoing fighting, according to local sources.

Joint forces belonging to the Arakan Army, Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army have been the targets of an offensive in northern Shan State following attacks by the groups on military and police targets on August 15.

According to local civil society organizations, some 800 are staying in Mongting monastery, more than 400 in Marchinu monastery, and nearly 1,000 in Mansu monasteryall in Lashio. In Kutkai, there are some 200 people in Tar Yao monastery and more than 230 in Maharsi monastery. There are 300 people in the boarding school of the Roman Catholic church in Nam Salap in Hsenwi.

We can not collect a population list of who is staying at their relatives’ houses. Hundreds of people just arrived in the church, Mine Mai, who is working for the Kachin Youth Group, told SHAN.

Because many Kachin internally displaced people (IDPs) are staying with family members in Kutkai town, she said she doesn’t know the exact number of people displaced. Tension remains high and many people still remain trapped in villages in Muse, Kutkai and Hsenwi.

The important thing is for IDPs is to get food and healthcare services. These are the things they especially need, Mine Mai added.

Villagers from the Lashio community of Kon Hser sought refuge in Mongting monastery after a shell landed in Kon Hser village on Sunday, killing one man.

Now we are going together with donors to Mongting monastery. Especially, these people need food and shelter, Sai Harn, who is working with the Lashio Shan Youth, told SHAN.

Clashes are ongoing in northern Shan State, with locals and armed groups voicing concern that the number of IDPs will continue to rise as long as tension remains high.

Source: The Shan Herald Agency for News