Suffering of the people fleeing the war

Myanmar Spring Chronicle – February 06 Scenes
MoeMaKa February 07 2023

Suffering of the people fleeing the war

The number of people fleeing the war, also called “war refugees” and “IDPs” (internally displaced persons) by civil assistance organizations, is increasing day by day in the daily news. If you look back at the last 2 years, the number of war refugees in the whole country has increased by more than a million people since the military coup.

Even before the military coup, there were more than 400,000 war refugees (nearly 500,000) in Myanmar, not including the number of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. There are already many refugee camps in Kachin State, Rakhine State, Northern Shan State and Karen State more than a year after the military coup, the number of war refugees has reached over another 1 million. Since before the military coup, in Rakhine State, we have read in the news that people are fleeing war in Kyauktaw, Mrauk-U and northern regions of Rakhine State because of the fighting between the AA and the military. Also in Southern and Northern Shan States, due to the fighting between the military and ethnic armed groups such as the TNLA, SSPP, RCSS, people from Kyaukme, Hsipaw and Lashio, etc. had to flee for weeks or months. Also in Kachin State, tens of thousands of war refugees have been living in refugee camps for many years in Myitkyina, Bhamo, Mansi, and Namkham, due to the resumption of fighting since June 2011. The issue of war refugees is a problem that emerged in conjunction with Myanmar’s civil war and people have had to try for their survival by fleeing in various forms and various ways for ages.

After the massacre of the Rohingya ethnic people and the burning down of villages in northern Rakhine in 2017, nearly 1 million refugees fled to Bangladesh, and it remains an unresolved issue till now. In the Rohingya crisis, the military has committed hate-based killings and destroyed villages with the goal of making them unable to live in those areas again, in addition to killing civilians without reason or on the alleged suspicion of supporting armed rebels.

Just by listening to, reading, and watching TV news about these war refugees, you will be able to empathize with how great their suffering is. The fighting that is going on in Sagaing and Magway divisions, destroying and looting the villagers’ properties and food after raiding into villages by the military under the name of clearing the PDF, the arresting and torturing of those left in the villages as they are attached to their properties or unable to run because of their age and poor health when the military entered, and in some cases, the loss of their lives in the fire when houses are being set on fire, are too heartbreaking events just to be listened to.

In these areas, the situation of the local people who have suffered repeated raids and left after burning down and destroying their houses and properties is a tragic and painful incident just to imagine.

It is believed that the military is looting the food and valuables found in villages or destroying those that are unable to take, by claiming to be an enemy’s territory, villages or houses that support the enemy, and properties and food that will become a support for the enemy. The acts of the military council authorizing and letting their military act in this way will make the locals more resentful and give more support to the PDFs who are fighting against the military council.

As for the people in upland regions, evading the military council troops by taking blankets, clothes, food, and valuables that have always been packed, and loading them on motorcycles or carts, has become their daily routine for years. War refugees are facing hardships where they are unable to work for their livelihood properly, losing their houses, food, belongings, and their beloved ones and family members every day. These are not events that one or two hundred people are facing but are events that millions of people are facing. It is urgently needed to address these issues and protect the people.