Humanitarian aid from the international community to refugees in Burma’s Kachin State totaled US$ 16.7 million at the end of May, according to domestic media reports.
The UN has calculated that a total of $21.9 million would be needed to support a population of around 40,000 refugees in camps across the state, an article by the Eleven News Group said on Monday. Some groups say refugees' numbers far exceed that estimate.
“We’ve so far received 16.7 million of the expected amount. But the problem is that number of refugees has doubled,” a member of the Kachin Peace Network, which works with refugees, was quoted as saying. The private group successfully delivered a small amount of aid to the area this month.
Money and material has been donated by Australia, Germany, Britain, Denmark, the U.S, France, the UN, the World Food Program, UNICEF and other donors, said the newspaper.
On Friday, Ambassador Derek Mitchell said that the U.S. will donate US$ 3 million to the Food and Agriculture Organization to buy 3,400 tons of food, which is enough for six months for 55,000 refugees in Kachin and northern Shan states.
UN convoys and private groups have been successful in reaching the camps in recent months, following a period when the Burmese government or the Kachin Independence Organization denied access to the refugee areas.
Significant aid is also coming from area residents and church groups, officials said. Reports say there is a shortage of food, shelters, health care and a lack of teaching aids.
Clashes between the government and Kachin Independence army renewed in June 2011 and have continued even as peace negotiations are ongoing, although they have made little headway in resolving the political issues behind the fighting.
Villagers have fled to refugee camps in Kachin and northern Shan states and along the border inside China.