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Over 2,100 refugees sheltered in Kamjong District’s border villages

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Over 2,100 refugees sheltered in Kamjong District’s border villages

By- Addie Chiphang
Ukhrul, May 19:

Villages in the border area of Manipur’s Kamjong district are currently providing shelter to over 2,100 refugees fleeing conflict in Myanmar. The biometric registration of these refugees is ongoing as district authorities work to ensure proper documentation and aid distribution.
Orien Ningshen, the Sub-Divisional Officer (SDO) of Kasom Khullen block under Kamjong district, informed the media that initially, there were around 1,900 Kabow (Myanmar) refugees in the border villages of Namlee, Wanglee, KAKA Trade Centre, and Choro-Zingshophai. However, recent escalations in the conflict have forced additional groups to seek refuge between May 13 and 15. The new arrivals include 187 refugees at Namlee, 57 at Wanglee, and 19 at KAKA Trade Centre.
“We are in the process of registering all the refugees biometrically,” said Ningshen. “So far, we have registered about 65 refugees this morning, and we will continue until everyone is documented.”

Also Read: Kamjong Border Town under siege: Daily activities come to a grinding halt

Conditions in the Relief Camps
A media team visiting the relief camps observed that the majority of the refugees are women, children, and elderly individuals. Notably, there are few young adults present. When asked, the refugees explained that some young people stayed behind in Myanmar to take care of their homes and farms.
The refugees face significant challenges in the camps. One woman highlighted the lack of electricity and water, as well as the prevalence of seasonal illnesses. She appealed for humanitarian assistance to improve their living conditions.
Issues of Transparency and Accountability
Villagers expressed concerns about the transparency and accountability of the refugee camps. Recently, 106 refugees left the camp without informing anyone, causing alarm among the residents. Additionally, a refugee was injured by a landmine on the village outskirts and was brought back to the camp for treatment about five or six days ago. The villagers are urging the authorities to establish a separate, fenced camp area monitored by security personnel to prevent such incidents in the future.
Currently, the refugees are living in thatched houses, with some materials provided by the local villages. However, these resources are limited. The villagers have appealed to the government to take over the humanitarian responsibility for the refugees, as their capacity to assist is stretched thin.
Refugee Demographics and Humanitarian Needs
The refugee population includes Burmese, Vaiphei, and Kuki communities. Despite the villagers’ best efforts to provide shelter and basic needs, the strain on local resources is evident. The lack of adequate infrastructure and supplies is a pressing concern that needs immediate attention.
As the conflict in Myanmar shows no signs of abating, the influx of refugees into border villages like those in Kamjong district is likely to continue. It is imperative that the government steps in to provide the necessary support and resources to both the refugees and the host communities. Ensuring proper living conditions, healthcare, and security for the refugees will not only alleviate their immediate suffering but also help maintain peace and stability in the border areas.
Call for Government Intervention
The situation in Kamjong district underscores the urgent need for a coordinated humanitarian response. Local authorities, while doing their best, require additional support from higher levels of government and international aid organizations. Establishing well-equipped relief camps, providing medical facilities, and ensuring food and water supplies are critical steps that need to be taken.
In summary, Kamjong district’s border villages are facing a humanitarian crisis as they shelter over 2,100 refugees from Myanmar. With limited resources and increasing challenges, the need for immediate government intervention and support is crucial to manage the situation effectively and humanely.

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