The UN Refugee Agency Is Being Blocked By The Myanmar Military From Reaching All Refugees In The Country

The UN aid to displaced people from Mindat, a mountainous town in Chin State that saw fighting between junta troops and civilian resistance fighters, is only reaching areas that Myanmar’s government permits.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) delivered humanitarian aid to Mindat’s growing displaced population this week as part of an “emergency response.” However, the aid did not reach those in need, as they fled the town after shootouts into rural Mindat. Villagers told The Irrawaddy this week that the aid had not left Mindat town and that they had not received any assistance.
“The UNHCR was granted travel authorization to access a number of displacement sites within Mindat town,” the UNHCR said.
Convoys carrying non-food items and COVID-19 prevention materials went to Mindat. The UNHCR said that since February, it has closely followed developments in Chin State to assist those who have been displaced.
UNHCR said it is calling on all concerned to collaborate to ensure unhindered humanitarian access in Chin State and across the country in order to prevent humanitarian work from being disrupted.
The agency declined to provide details on how the aid was distributed and how many civilians benefited from it.
As humanitarian assistance for up to 5,000 people, the agency plans to distribute tarpaulins, mosquito nets, sleeping mats, blankets, kitchen equipment, solar lamps and protective equipment for COVID-19 prevention.
According to Dr. Bu Htang, a member of a displacement camp committee in Tuili village, about 5km from Mindat, the internally displaced people (IDP) in his village have not received assistance from the UNHCR. He hosts about 1,200 people who fled fighting in Mindat town and cannot return home.
“There are no supports. Whatever donations we have, we are sharing. UN aid only reaches the areas where the military regime’s governing council permits. Many IDPs live in the villages, a long way from the town, and the aid should be delivered to them,” he said.
In spite of these obstacles, the UNHCR said it is in regular contact with its partners “to determine the best way to respond to the needs of those who are displaced in other areas of Chin State.”

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