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Immediate action needed to address refugee crisis in Manipur’s Kamjong District

by Editorial Team
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Immediate action needed to address refugee crisis in Manipur’s Kamjong District

The situation unfolding in Manipur’s Kamjong district is a stark reminder of the urgent need for coordinated action to address the humanitarian crisis posed by the influx of refugees from Myanmar. Failure to act swiftly by both the central and state governments will only exacerbate the situation, akin to pouring oil on a burning house. Kamjong district’s border villages are currently hosting over 2,100 refugees fleeing conflict in Myanmar. The district authorities are engaged in biometric registration to ensure proper documentation and aid distribution. However, the challenges faced by these refugees—and the local communities supporting them—are mounting.
The Sub-Divisional Officer (SDO) of Kasom Khullen block reports that initial counts placed around 1,900 Kabow (Myanmar) refugees in villages like Namlee, Wanglee, KAKA Trade Centre, and Choro-Zingshophai. Recent escalations in Myanmar have driven even more people across the border, with an additional 263 refugees arriving between May 13 and 15. A recent media visit to the relief camps revealed dire conditions. Most refugees are women, children, and the elderly, with few young adults present. Many young people have remained in Myanmar to protect their homes and farms. The camps lack basic amenities such as electricity and water, and seasonal illnesses are prevalent. One woman’s plea for humanitarian assistance highlights the pressing need for improved living conditions.
There are significant concerns about transparency and security within the camps. Instances like 106 refugees leaving the camp unannounced and a mine bomb injury near a village underscore the need for stricter oversight. Villagers are calling for a securely fenced camp area monitored by security personnel to prevent such incidents and ensure safety. The local communities, though compassionate, are overwhelmed. Refugees are living in thatched houses with limited resources, some provided by the villagers themselves. The demographic mix of Burmese, Vaiphei, and Kuki communities further complicates the support dynamics. The villagers’ appeals for government intervention underscore their inability to sustain this level of support indefinitely.
The central and state governments must urgently address this crisis. Local authorities, despite their best efforts, cannot manage alone. The establishment of well-equipped relief camps, the provision of medical facilities, and the assurance of food and water supplies are critical. Moreover, support from international aid organizations could provide much-needed resources and expertise. The conflict in Myanmar is unlikely to abate soon, and the influx of refugees into Kamjong district will persist. The government must step in to alleviate the immediate suffering of these refugees and support the host communities. Proper living conditions, healthcare, and security are essential to maintaining peace and stability in the region.
The situation in Kamjong district demands immediate and decisive action. Delays or inadequate responses will only deepen the crisis, creating further humanitarian and security challenges. It is imperative that the government act now to provide the necessary support and resources, ensuring that both refugees and local communities are protected and assisted.

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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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