Relief groups struggle to reach Kachin civilians

21 July 2015
Relief groups struggle to reach Kachin civilians
Photo:RANIR Kachin Relief

More than 1,000 Kachin civilians have been forced to flee their homes since the Myanmar armed forces carried out airstrikes on positions held by the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) near the village of Mali Yang in northern Kachin state last Saturday July 11th, Vatican Radio reported on 20 July.
Church relief groups say the civilians displaced by renewed fighting in the war-torn Kachin state are in dire need of humanitarian aid. Food, clothing, temporary shelter supplies and medicine have been ready for distribution to the displaced since last week but delivering supplies to those in need has been hindered by poor weather and military troop movements in the region, according to Church workers.
Army authorities have so far not allowed aid groups to reach the displaced civilians many of whom have fled to an area still controlled by the KIA. While the Kachin State Chief Minister La John Ngan Hsai appears to be concerned about the situation, he is unable to authorize aid groups to travel to the area and only the army and other central government authorities can give approval for this.
It remains to be seen if UN agencies operating in Kachin state including United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian, (UNOCHA), the World Food Program (WFP) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) will be allowed to go to the area or send supplies there.