Food difficulties for war refugees; Life difficulties for CDMs

Myanmar Spring Chronicle – January 29 Scenes
MoeMaKa, January 30 2023

Food difficulties for war refugees; Life difficulties for CDMs

There is no way to describe the hardships and sufferings of those fleeing the war in the regions of Myanmar where the fighting is going on and which have been blocked, such as Sagaing Division, Chin State and Magway Division. After leaving their houses out of fear for their lives, the consequences include not only the threat of weapons but also other circumstances like a lack of food and difficulty accessing medical care, both of which can be life-threatening. As a result, the survival of war refugees has turned into a situation full of difficulties, sufferings and challenges.

In today’s news, we read an article about the lack of food for those who have fled the villages of Depayin Township in the past few days and weeks. About 15,000 people are facing a situation in which there is a shortage of rice, oil, and other cooking supplies, according to news reports. 

In order to escape from armed battles and villages being invaded, arrested, tortured, and killed, locals have to flee with bullock carts and motorbikes, and live in the forest and the fields. They are also facing shortage of food, lack of medicine, and natural disasters.

On the other hand, they are facing food shortages and natural disasters again while avoiding the danger of battles, bullets, gunshots, arrests and killings.

While Sagaing is facing such a situation, in Chin State’s Mindat Township, there was an incident in which a village where food and medicine were stored for war evacuees was attacked by the military council’s airstrike, damaging the goods.

With the expansion of armed areas in Myanmar, the number of refugees fleeing the war has been steadily increasing, and according to the latest statistics, there have been more than 1.5 million. In a country with a population of over 54 million, over 1.5 million people are fleeing war, which is almost 3 percent. It is said that 3 out of 100 people are fleeing the war. In Myanmar, where a long-term civil war has been going on, and is intensifying after the military coup, the problem of war refugees is becoming a situation that pushes the country into the category of a failed country.


Another topic for today is that after the military coup, there were hundreds of thousands of people who participated in CDM in cities and towns, and there are still hundreds of thousands of CDMers too. Among them, there are those who have been arrested, those who have fled to neighboring countries, and those who are living secretly somewhere other than their original address because they dare not live there. 


It can be said that what inspired the CDM movement was a letter that Aung San Suu Kyi had left to encourage civil disobedience. During the period when the protest was increasing, not only the government departments but also the employees of companies such as private banks were encouraged to do CDM with the aim of preventing the government sectors from operating and it is seen that some employees of private banks participated in the CDM movement.


It is true that the CDM movement was able to sway the coup military council, but now it is no longer a decisive strategy. They have chosen the armed path, and after a year and a half, the CDM movement will only be said to be a kind of support for the fall of the military dictator. On the other hand, there is an obligation to support hundreds of thousands of CDM workers. 


According to a statement issued by NUG these days, the amount of money supported for the 40,000 employees who participated in the CDM movement after the military coup has reached more than 12,000 million kyats. If we look at the number of employees, it can only support 30,000 kyats per person. In comparison to the needs, the amount of money that can be provided is still extremely limited. Although there is support from the public and some international organizations through some civilian organizations apart from the NUG, it can be said that it is in a situation where there is a huge gap between demand and supply.


A few days before the 2-year anniversary of the military coup and the CDM movement, it is appropriate to assess the CDM movement in terms of benefit, impact, accountability, and responsibility, among other things.