- Thousands are fleeing to India for shelter as fears are increasingly growing for an all-out war
- Hundreds of thousands of people in Karenni State still remain stuck in the jungles with no supply of food, medicines and other essentials.
- Thousands of people in Karen State are increasingly crossing the Thai border to seek shelter and protection.
The recent armed conflicts in Myanmar have forced thousands in Chin State to flee homes, seeking shelter in neighboring countries in Mizoram State and other areas in India. As the situation has no sight of ending the conflict, but worsening, many people seek international protection at the office of the United Nations for High Commissioner for Refugee (UNCHR) in New Delhi, India and Thailand.
Chindwin has contacted Chin refugee community leaders in New Delhi, India and confirmed that over 1500 people have already arrived following recent conflict between Myanmar military junta’s forces and Chinland Defense Forces (CDF) in Thantlang and Lungler village, according to the Delhi-based Chin Refugee Committee (CRC).
The situation in Chin State is worsening as the military junta is bombing even the capital city – Hakha and Thantlang town and regularly open fires randomly at night, causing residential properties damaged and people injured.
Over ten thousand people have reportedly crossed border in seeking shelter and refuge in neighboring countries, including India, Thailand, and others. The economic and political situation has deteriorated since the Myanmar military arbitrarily seized power in February from the democratically elected government led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
As the fighting between a combined force of Chin National Army and Chin Defense Force and the Myanmar military in Chin State is intensifying in recent weeks, thousands of residents from Chin State have crossed the India-Myanmar border, seeking shelters in Mizoram State, India. “The local authorities in Mizoram provide shelters and basic needs to those crossing the border”, according to the local news outlet in Mizoram State.
Many continue their journey to Delhi for seeking greater international protection through the UNHCR in New Delhi, India.
“We receive the new arrival notice every day, and this makes the community leaders worry a lot as some of Chin refugees travel through COVID-19 Red Zone and struggle with home quarantine facilities,” the CRC’s Secretary told The Chindwin.
“All those from Red Zone are quarantined at CRC’s Office. CRC provides them with food and other needs. Lists of individuals registered with the CRC are given to the UNHCR’s office. Among those, a few have been granted Temporary Card within a week but have no clue when vetting is commenced,” he added.
Salai Cung Dawt, a representative of Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO) based in New Delhi, told The Chindwin that many people from Myanmar have decided to flee to neighbouring countries to seek for UN’s protection, yet the UNHCR does not grant them full refugee status that is frustrating many.
“We are also informed that many are on their way to New Delhi,” he added. Currently, an estimated 3,000 Chin refugees are in New Delhi, living under dire conditions. Some are employed by local factories, earning Rs—5,000 per month, which is less than USD $100.
Many refugees wait for the Australian humanitarian program, which has been halted due to the covid restriction. Even some families who have been granted humanitarian visas have waited for few years for resettlement in Australia.
On the Eastern side, conflicts in Karen and Karenni States are not improving but deteriorating. The internally displaced people (IDPs) in these two states urgently need humanitarian aid as thousands of people face a shortage of food, medicine, and other essential supplies.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee (UNHCR) reports that the agency in Thailand position and plan humanitarian assistance based on the possible influx scenario of 4000 new arrivals per month over the next six months.
Since the February coup, thousands of refugees have crossed over the Thai Myanmar border as the Myanmar military force stepped up their offensive across the country. Thailand currently hosts about 92,000 refugees in camps and 5,000 in Bangkok, according to the East Asia Forum.