The United Nations says its Kachin Response Plan is being revised to cover humanitarian requirements and to reflect changes in the situation. The new plan is expected any day now and will extend to the end of 2013, according to a statement by UNOCHA (UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs).
The previous plan, which expired in February 2013, called for US$35.8 million for over 85,000 people, of which so far $32 million has been pledged.
As of the end of March, the number of registered IDPs in Kachin and in northern Shan states reached over 83,000, including some 47,000 in areas under Kachin Independence Army (KIA) control. UNOCHA said that this number, however, does not include the entire IDP caseload in northern Shan State, nor IDPs living with host families.
Ceasefire talks are scheduled within the coming weeks between the KIA’s political wing, the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), and a government delegation. Despite the ongoing attempts at dialogue, continued hostilities have been reported in many areas.
Concerns have also been raised by the UN about a lack of access to certain IDP camps. On April 9, Aye Win, a UN spokesperson in Yangon, told Mizzima that they were still waiting to get Myanmar government permission to cross the Chinese border with food and humanitarian supplies destined for Pat-Ka-Htaung refugee camp.
As of April 18, Aye Win was unable to confirm whether the supplies had been permitted to reach the refugees, and said that additional supplies for rainy season, including tarpaulins, blankets and mosquito nets, were included in the cargo.
“Many of the IDPs have now been displaced for a prolonged period of time, some for over 20 months, triggering renewed and additional needs for provision of basic services and protection,” said the most recent UNOCHA report. “Partners report that the most urgent needs in displaced communities before the rainy season include improved shelter and WASH facilities [water and sanitation] and NFIs [non-food items].
“In March the dry season began with reports of water sources running dry in some areas, and in many camps a limited number of latrines and poor hygiene practices which pose health risks to the displaced communities. Furthermore, limited livelihoods opportunities cause further protection concerns, with IDPs increasingly engaging in high-risk employment, including cultivation of land located in high-risk areas,” the report said.
In March, the World Food Programme (WFP) undertook an assessment of needs and assistance at 17 WFP-assisted camps in seven townships in Kachin State—Bhamo, Mansi, Moegaung, Momauk, Moenyin, Myitkyina, and Waingmaw. According to UNOCHA, preliminary analysis shows that the households in the assessed camps have an adequate diet, and no hunger was reported.
“What is important is that all areas within Kachin be accessed and assessed for a more targeted approach,” said the UN’s Aye Win on Friday, April 19. “Once again, with the rains approaching, we are facing a situation where the IDPs are again faced with the ravages of weather. Hopefully things would improve so that they could return to their places of origin and they can resume their lives and livelihoods.”
For more background:
- UN aid convoy reaches Kachin refugees
- UN Sec-Gen calls for humanitarian access in Kachin conflict zone
- UN calls for access to Kachin IDPs in winter months