ASIA/MYANMAR-"The situation for the displaced Kachin is serious: humanitarian aid is urgently needed", says Caritas

Banmaw (Agenzia Fides) - In the last six months, the situation of the internally displaced of the Kachin ethnic group, in the diocese of Myitkyina and Banmaw (in the North of Myanmar) has worsened, affecting mostly women and children. The refugees have increased constantly and currently there are about 50 thousand. The Catholic Church (through "Karuna", the local Caritas) and the Baptist Church, with great effort and commitment of resources, have organized camps and provided the sustenance for 26 thousand displaced people, while another 3,000 are accommodated in Buddhist monasteries. This is what is said in a detailed Report sent to Agenzia Fides by Caritas of the Diocese of Banmaw, at the forefront in monitoring the situation and support. Caritas launches an appeal to incentivize humanitarian assistance programs, hoping for an immediate cessation of hostilities. Kachin state, located in the northern part of Myanmar, has about 1.2 million inhabitants. After military clashes started again in June 2011, there was an "exodus" the document says: the population had to escape from their homes, fields and farms, while infrastructures such as roads and bridges were destroyed. Since last June, sites and religious houses – informs the Caritas Report - have become "IDP camps", while other camps were set up in the jungle. The displaced people, mostly Christians, are afraid and are struggling to survive, they rely on the humanitarian aid of the Catholic and the Baptist Church, in the city, on the support of UN agencies and individual NGOs. The displaced, the Report informs, come from Njang Yang, Waingmaw, Banmaw, Momauk, Shwegu and Mansi and the area between the Irrawaddy River and the border with China. Many displaced people remain in the forest for fear of military violence, that some NGOs have called "war crimes and crimes against humanity". (PA) (Agenzia Fides 14/12/2011)