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Myanmar: Conflict on the rise in Kachin State
07 June 2018

New displacements in Kachin. (UNOCHA)

Bangkok, 7 June 2018 – Since the beginning of this year, the conflict between the Burmese Army and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) has intensified in many parts of Myanmar’s Kachin State.

Due to heavy mortar shelling and airstrikes by the Burmese Army, thousands of civilians, mostly women and children, have fled their villages. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) reports that in April alone, more than 6,800 people were displaced.

In total, there are now more than 100,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) living in camps throughout Kachin State. (UNOCHA)

Local churches, non-profit organizations, some government departments, the Myanmar Red Cross and private donors continue to respond to the influx of new IDPs by offering shelter and food. Pregnant women, children, and elderly are among the most vulnerable of the newly displaced.

Parents who have fled their homes are concerned about their children’s education, as it is unclear whether displaced children will be allowed to attend government schools in the areas where they now reside.

In the last few weeks, the Jesuit Refugee Service’s (JRS) partners in Myanmar have helped bring IDPs to safe places, conducted activities with children, and visited newly displaced families. JRS also supported initial needs assessments in the areas hosting many of the displaced people, paying specific attention to education needs.

Before this resurgence of the conflict, JRS was assisting partners in Kachin with education services in IDPs camps. This support included covering students’ tuition fees, education materials, stipends for teachers, and teacher training. In 2017, more than 70 teachers were trained to give quality education to around 3,400 students through JRS supported partners.

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Martina Bezzini